County’s affordable homes drive starts in seaside town

The county council’s affordable-homes ‘revolution’ is under way with an application for new homes in a Northumberland seaside town.

A bid to build 48 affordable properties on land south of Dandsfield Square in Amble has been lodged, not long after an agreement to progress with phase one of a home-building programme.

Soon after the Labour group took control of Northumberland County Council in May, leader Grant Davey announced plans to build more than 1,300 affordable homes in the next four years.

Phase One of this scheme, which will focus primarily on building council-owned homes with a target start date of summer 2014 and completion in 2016, was approved by the council’s policy board last Tuesday.

It includes schemes in Amble, Craster, Embleton, Rothbury, Shilbottle and Wooler, totalling almost 130 homes.

The scheme is likely to cost around £4.6million, which will be funded using a £1.1million grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) with the remainder coming from the council’s housing revenue account.

The plans are for a mix of property types – 12 one-bedroom flats, eight two-bedroom bungalows, 20 two-bedroom houses and eight three-bedroom houses.

Homes for Northumberland would own the properties and let them to households who are eligible for social rented housing.

Coun Robert Arckless, ward member for Amble, said: “This is the first proposal for council housing in Amble for 35 years.

“I very much welcome the extensive consultation with local members, the town council and local residents.

“I support the development strongly and I think it will meet a real need. It will also, in my view, help to raise the whole area because the quality of what’s being proposed is very good.

“I have never known the problems that there are now in terms of housing options for people who aren’t able to buy and there are a lot of people in that situation.”