Another Northumberland village fears a housing deluge

Iain Elliott, left, chairman of Longhorsley Parish Council, with Northumberland county councillor Glen Sanderson in Longhorsley, where there are concerns over housing plans.
Iain Elliott, left, chairman of Longhorsley Parish Council, with Northumberland county councillor Glen Sanderson in Longhorsley, where there are concerns over housing plans.

Fears are building that another Northumberland village is the latest community to be targeted by housing developers.

Two planning applications have recently been put forward in the Longhorsley area. If both are granted permission, a total of 80 new homes would be built. As consent is already in place for 13 units, this would result in a 33 per cent growth in residential properties – the village currently has 288 households. In addition, parish councillors believe that a bid for a site in the south west of the village will be submitted in the near future.

The concern comes in the wake of similar battles at Warkworth, which objectors to homes plans have set up an action group and a fighting fund, and Shilbottle, where the refusal of Northumberland Estates’ plans for 50 new properties has just been overturned on appeal.

One of the proposals for Longhorsley, lodged with Northumberland County Council, is Partner Investments Ltd’s outline scheme for up to 55 dwellings on land south east of the Shoulder Of Mutton pub, South Road.

The other, put forward by Cussins Ltd, is for the erection of 25 homes with associated access, landscaping and parking at a site north of Reivers Gate.

Longhorsley Parish Council chairman Iain Elliott said: “An extension to the green belt north of Morpeth is being proposed in the county council’s draft core strategy and we were pleased to see that proposal because it was what Longhorsley residents overwhelmingly asked for during a consultation.

“But we’ve been concerned about the various iterations and delays to this document and as it is unlikely to be in place until 2016, housing developers are coming forward with schemes now before the shutters come down.

“If these two applications are approved, the 80 new homes will be a ridiculous number for a village of our size. It would be unfair for our community to be forced to cope with such an increase.

“We can make representations to reflect the strength of feeling in the community, but we’re not confident about the ability of the county council to refuse these types of applications when there is no five-year housing land supply provision in place.

“We’re not against development in the village, we’re just asking for an appropriate housing number.

“After going through the core strategy data, our village statistician has worked out that Longhorsley’s fair share over the 20-year core strategy period would be 45 new homes and there may also be a few barn conversions.

“Therefore, to have 80 new builds over the next few years would have major implications for our village. At the moment, we feel under siege.”

The development near The Shoulder Of Mutton would deliver a mix of housing types and sizes – from bungalows to detached and terraced houses – ranging from two to five bedrooms in an attractive landscape setting.

There would be an access point for vehicles from the A697, with an extended pedestrian connection to the north and to the existing bus stop.

Mr Baird’s proposal would see a combination of detached homes and bungalows up to a maximum of 2.5 storeys in height. A singular new access would be created off Reivers Gate, which in turn would be accessible from the A697.

County councillor for the Longhorsley ward, Glen Sanderson, said: “The village is a very special place and there is a strong community.

“It’s to be expected that there will be some new housing in Longhorsley, but if these two applications are approved, it would have to cope with a big influx of people.

“Residents here, like in many other towns and villages, feel that the amount of new homes being proposed is disproportionate to the size of the settlements.

“It’s not a question of being totally against development, we just don’t want bad decisions to be made that would have a long-term harmful impact on our communities.”

The bids could also affect the progressing neighbourhood plan for the Longhorsley area.

For more information about it, visit www.longhorsleypc.org.uk.