I gather that English Partnerships have now taken over the whole St George's Hospital site from the NHS as part of the Government's plan to develop unneeded NHS land.
]My understanding of the planning situation is that there's no chance of development beyond the 150 homes already approved until a new access road is constructed]
English Partnerships seem to be taking their responsibilities for the site seriously - and in the past week or so there has been some friction between security guards and dogwalkers etc on the St George's site. I understand that the site manager for English Partnerships has now been given instructions to allow free access (within reason) to walkers and dog-walkers.
However - it does raise issues about future access to the site. NCC have a webpage showing existing rights of way, but there are a number of footpaths and access points which are not covered by these.
There is a process whereby additional rights of way can be established by groups of people if they can demonstrate that they have used the route for 20 years or more. I'd like people who regularly walk at St George's or on Cottingwood Common to get in touch with me so that we can identify any further rights of way and points of access that need to be defined before English Partnerships get going with development plans.
I've been told that Morpeth Antiquarian Society have registered 'Cottingwood' as a Common - and I'd like to hear more about this.
I'm also aware the the Morpeth Walking Festival will include some walks up onto the Cottingwood site, and that GMDT will soon be issuing walking guides which includes at least one involving the site.
Time for some joined-up thinking....