A FORMER town councillor is heading up a protest group against a proposed development of 200 new homes in Haltwhistle.

The application is seeking full permission for 66 homes, with outline permission for a further 127 houses also requested on land to the west of Park Road. The site is currently open pasture land.

Geoff Sloan said the application, from Belfast-based Beam Group, had not dealt properly with issues surrounding access, sewerage, and drainage.

Mr Sloan said: “All the traffic will be directed down Park Road. It’s far too much for Haltwhistle to cope with. The infrastructure hasn’t changed since 1993 when it was decided that the sewers were at capacity, and the fields nearby have flooded over the years.

“In Haltwhistle, it’s more of a case of needing jobs rather than new commuters. Houses aren’t selling here because there isn’t any work.

However, a spokeswoman for Beam Group said they had taken all highways and environmental issues seriously. Craig Van Bedaf, managing director of Pod Newcastle, lead architects on the development, added: “All elements of the development have been designed to ensure a balance of the most useful, efficient and sympathetic choices to benefit the existing and future community.

“All aspects, from the practical to the visual have been chosen to celebrate this heritage site.”