PLANS to build houses on the site of a sawmill have been given the green light.

The outline planning application for nine homes on the Kirkley Sawmill plot, which lies to the west of Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus, went before councillors at the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council last week.

The homes would cover about one third of the plot.

The application was submitted by Stan Dawson, who was retiring and was intending to close the sawmill business.

Concerns about unresolved flooding issues had led councillors to defer a decision at the February meeting of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council, but following the outstanding matters relating to surface water being resolved, the committee approved the scheme by three votes to zero at its last meeting.

This was despite hearing concerns for a second time from neighbours Christine and Glenn Brownlee, who were backed by Coun. Christine Caisley, from Ponteland Town Council, which opposed the development.

Mrs Brownlee complained that the proposals would “just about annihilate a small country hamlet.”

“This is just a pathway to other phases,” she added. “Whatever you hear today, I feel you are just opening the floodgates.”

Councillors were told that a condition on the approval would mean that the other two thirds of the site would have to be cleared and soft-landscaped before any of the new homes were occupied.

At the February meeting, the applicant’s agent, Chris Megson, from ELG Planning, said that they had worked closely with officers to develop a quality scheme, which “fully addresses the opportunities and constraints presented.”