THE diggers have rolled in as work to construct 184 new homes as part of a controversial development is set to get under way.

As part of a protracted planning process, the widening of Cow Lane to access the Milkwell Lane development in Corbridge was due to start on Monday.

This followed the agreement from the Secretary of State to allow Northumberland County Council to sell a strip of the playing field at the adjacent Corbridge Middle School to allow the narrow road to be widened.

The bulk of the work to construct the new houses, which received outline planning permission in 2016, despite many objections from local residents, has been delayed due to pre-planning conditions not being met. However, the developers were hopeful these hurdles would be overcome shortly.

The machinery rolling in at the weekend was a significant step towards the development which has been a major talking point in the village since the application was submitted to the council three years ago.

Nick Oliver, Corbridge’s county councillor, said: “Many people in Corbridge did not support the planning application for this development when it came forward in 2016.

“Although this was before I became a councillor, I too had significant objections but it was granted and we have to make the best of it.

“There will be some community benefits including a new car park and improved sports facilities for the middle school and much-needed affordable housing provision. I will continue working closely with Northumberland County Council, Corbridge Parish Council and the developers to ensure that this development is implemented safely and that we maximise the benefits and minimise the disruption.”