CHAPTER 42 - WIDDRINGTON STATION AND STOBSWOOD (WS)
42.2.1 Widdrington Station is an important settlement as it is the most central of the former mining settlements in the northeast part of the Borough and is well located within the road network serving that area. Accordingly the Council considers that Widdrington Station is the settlement where it is most appropriate to concentrate the provision of sub-regional economic development and recreational facilities, together with improved commercial and community facilities. Widdrington Station benefits from good communications, having a commuter rail service to Morpeth and Newcastle and frequent local bus services.
IN ACCORDANCE WITH POLICY C1, A SETTLEMENT BOUNDARY FOR WIDDRINGTON STATION AND STOBSWOOD IS DEFINED AS SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAP INSET No. 35.
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42.3.1 There have been continuing housing developments at Widdrington Station and there are still several sites available for development within the existing boundary. A site at Mile road was recently approved on appeal and the settlement boundary is modified to take account of this decision. Despite the level of existing provision it is considered, due to Widdrington Station's location within easy commuting distance of the principal employment centres, that there is potential for additional residential and employment growth and additional land outside the existing settlement boundary has been identified for these purposes. The settlement boundary for Widdrington Station is accordingly modified to accommodate the new allocations. It is proposed that the boundary to development for Stobswood shall remain substantially unaltered, retaining the individual character of this community and protecting the woodland between it and Widdrington Station.
IN ACCORDANCE WITH POLICY C10, THE COUNCIL WILL NOT PERMIT DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD AFFECT THE INTEGRITY OF THE GRANGE WOOD SITE OF LOCAL CONSERVATION INTEREST UNLESS IT CAN BE DEMONSTRATED THAT THE BENEFITS FROM THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OUTWEIGH THE NEED TO SAFEGUARD THE INTRINSIC NATURE CONSERVATION VALUE OF THE SITE.
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42.4.1 Grange Wood, which straddles the Newcastle-Edinburgh railway line is an area of mixed woodland with an interesting field layer and associated scrub vegetation. The site, which separates the two communities of Widdrington Station and Stobswood, is an important landscape feature to be protected . The site is designated by English Nature as an Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland and as an Ancient Replanted Woodland with the main aim being to conserve the existing tree cover and field layer.
42.5.1 At 30 June 2002, the following sites had the benefit of planning permission and are likely to be developed within the plan period.
A variety of dwelling types, detached houses to terraced houses, and possibly sheltered housing for the elderly or social needs housing may be accommodated on the various sites, providing a more than adequate supply of new housing for Widdrington Station over the Plan period.
42.6.1 The Council recognises that the communities in the northeast of the Borough have been most disadvantaged through the decline of the deep mining coal industry and that there is a need to expand and diversify the economic base of the area and make the coastal area of the borough more attractive as places to live and work. The Grange Moor Farm area is a key part of this regeneration process and offers the potential for a comprehensively designed development scheme, mainly providing for housing. However, the mixed development scheme also allows for the extension to the Widdrington Station shopping area. This development now has the benefit of planning approval.
42.7.1 The Local Plan had previously allocated land within the Grange Moor Mixed Development Site for the improvement of public open space provision. However, it is now proposed to develop a new community park to the South of the B1337, which will become an important resource for the community and offer more opportunities for passive and active enjoyment. Other smaller areas of open space will be incorporated into the main Grange Moor Farm development.
42.7.2 The Council has also considered the provision of indoor sports facilities in the eastern part of the Borough and has resolved that such a facility be located at Widdrington Station. The village has also been identified as lacking adequate shopping facilities and increased provision is expected at Grange Moor Farm. This centrally located site would be suitable for the development of any or all of these uses, together with the other elements mentioned in the policy. A community hall has recently been provided at the Grange View County First School.
42.6.3 In order to support this regeneration, the Council will investigate opportunities to provide a variety of sites to attract inward investment and encourage local enterprise. In order that such sites can compete in attracting industry they will need to be well located and offer a high quality of service and infrastructure provision. The Council intends to work with bodies such as One North East , British Coal Enterprise, the Northumberland County Council and the Countryside Agency in ensuring the successful development of these sites. The mixed use area at Widdrington Station fulfils the Council's requirements of a central location and good access to communications and is a green field site without undue development constraints. In addition the former Social Club at Mile Road has potential for conversion for employment generating uses in addition to development at Grange Moor Farm.
42.6.2 It will be important to include proposals for a landscape buffer zone to protect Grange Wood which is designated as Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland and Ancient Replanted Woodland and the Council has negotiated a Section 106 Agreement to ensure its provision.
42.6.4 Previous proposals for the Grange Moor Farm Site included open space on the frontage to the B1337, meeting residents' desire for a 'village green' to improve the appearance of the settlement, although other proposals for a larger community park on the South Side of the B1337 will provide much better recreational opportunities for the village. Permission was recently granted for this new community park.
42.1.1 Widdrington Station is a settlement with a population of 2,270 located in the coalfield plain 8 miles northeast of Morpeth, and 11/2 miles inland from Druridge Bay. The much smaller community of Stobswood, population 120, lies 1/4 mile to the northwest of the main settlement and is separated from it by mixed deciduous woodland which gives Stobswood a degree of seclusion. The main employer in the area is the Stobswood Opencast Coal Mine, to the west of the settlement.
42.1.2 Widdrington Station has a first school, churches, shops, garage, post office, health clinic, community hall, social club, playing fields and railway station with daily local services to Newcastle. There are frequent bus services to both Morpeth and Ashington.