FRESH concerns have been raised over plans for homes in the heart of Prudhoe.

It comes after a traffic survey completed by Northumberland County Council found vehicular usage had increased to 21,445 cars per week in April 2022 from 5,400 in December 2018 on Castlefields Drive.

The survey also found drivers were travelling in excess of 50mph in a 20mph zone through the Castefields estate.

The proposed houses on land south of Broomhouse Lane - known locally as the legion or allotment site - could be accessed via the Tilley Crescent cul-de-sac of Castlefields, leading to concerns over congestion and parking. The route is often used as a 'shortcut' to Tyne View retail park.

The land, owned by the Duke of Northumberland's property arm Northumberland Estates, has been subject to a number of planning applications with plans for apartments scrapped and the number of homes reduced over the years.

In 2021, a pre-application was also submitted to the authority for a 72-unit care home on the site.

Revised plans are now for 63 houses of between two-four bedrooms, eight of which are earmarked as affordable.

It is expected the application, which has been before Prudhoe Town Council, who objected to the plans over highways and flooding concerns, will go before a committee in the new year.

Northumberland County Councillor Gordon Stewart, who represents Prudhoe South, said: "I am very much in favour of the land being used for new homes.

"But I oppose this current application due to concerns over the proposed vehicular access via Tilley Crescent as the road is not suitable for a number of reasons.

"I have encouraged people to make their opinion/suggestions known if they are in favour of or against the development; the vast majority of people I have spoken with, including people residing in Tilley Crescent and Cross Street, would like to see homes built on the site.

"I hope the matter can be resolved so houses of various types and styles can be built on the site, allowing more people to make Prudhoe their home. This would assist our local businesses, creation of jobs, and filling of employment vacancies, therefore, supporting our schools and services."

A Northumberland County Council spokesman added: "We did carry out a speed survey earlier this year in the area following concerns raised by a local resident. This was unconnected to any planning application. It showed that speeds currently fall below the threshold at which the police would consider enforcement. 

"Any residents with views on a live planning application can make comments known through the planning portal."

Colin Barnes, planning and development director at Northumberland Estates, said: "Compared to previous permission which was granted for a supermarket and over 100 houses, this is a much-reduced scheme which will provide affordable housing in the area.

"The proposed site is well located near the town centre and local facilities and will add a relatively small amount of traffic to Castlefields, however, all transport issues will be considered by the council.”