Friendliest Port ‘under siege’ from housing plans

An exhibition unveiling plans for 500 new homes in Amble last October. Picture by Jane Coltman
An exhibition unveiling plans for 500 new homes in Amble last October. Picture by Jane Coltman

Amble is a town ‘under siege’, worried locals have said, with plans for around 1,000 new homes in the pipeline.

A swathe of proposals for major developments in The Friendliest Port is prompting concern.

Barton Willmore and Cheviot Holding Ltd have recently unveiled plans for two schemes in the town.

One, at Percy Drive, is for more than 200 homes, while the other, for a site along the A1068, is for up to 200 properties.

Meanwhile, Arch wants to build 51 rentable properties on Coquet Enterprise Park.

At the start of the year, a proposal for around 500 homes to the south-east of Acklington Road and behind James Calvert Spence College was submitted to Northumberland County Council.

These plans follow the approval of more than 40 houses at Gloster Hill in December.

Persimmon is building 250 homes at Mark’s Bridge, while a 48 affordable-home scheme at Dandsfield Square has also been completed.

Now, opponents are saying enough is enough, voicing concerns about the cumulative impact of all this housing on Amble’s infrastructure and amenities.

Northumberland’s draft core strategy identifies a need for at least 600 new homes in Amble between 2011 and 2031.

Amble Mayor Jane Dargue and town and county councillor Jeff Watson told the Gazette that they feel the town is under siege.

Coun Watson said: “It is shocking. Yes, the Government’s policy is build, build, build, but that’s for places like Manchester and Birmingham, not Amble.”

Coun Dargue added: “There is a lot of planning in the pipeline and we need to look at it collectively. We want jobs and houses, but we need the infrastructure to go with that.”

Amble town and county councillor Robert Arckless said that he is worried about large-scale development over a short period, adding: “I am concerned about such a huge cumulative set of proposals coming together in such quick succession. I understand concerns about the impact on community facilities, infrastructure and traffic.”

New-home plans to be unveiled at exhibition events

Residents will be given the chance to view two plans for hundreds of new homes in Amble.

Barton Willmore (BW) and Cheviot Holdings Limited are involved in the developments on separate sites.

A BW spokesman said that the first scheme, for land at Percy Drive, is for more than 200 houses, while the second, on land west of the A1068, is for up to 200 homes.

He added that precise numbers are to be confirmed and both projects will be submitted as outline applications, with all matters reserved other than access. It is expected that there will be a mix of housing types and tenures.

Fliers distributed to advertise public consultation events describe the developments as exciting.

The exhibition for Percy Drive takes place today from 3pm to 7pm at the town’s Old Storehouse. The consultation event for the second scheme, known as Hauxley View, will take place next Thursday, from 3pm to 7pm, at Amble Masonic Hall, on Gloster Terrace.

Both events will give people the chance to meet representatives from the project team, who will answer questions.

If you can’t make the sessions, but wish to comment, write to Barton Willmore, The Forum. The Pearl, New Bridge Street West, Newcastle, NE1 8AQ, or email planningnorthern@bartonwillmore.co.uk
The deadline for comments on Percy Drive is next Thursday, while Hauxley View is March 23.

The BW spokesman said: “The draft Northumberland Local Plan sets a target to deliver at least 600 homes in Amble by 2031 as well as additional housing in the wider south-east delivery area.

“In terms of impacts on schools, etc, this will be assessed as part of the application and if a section 106 contribution would be needed, that is something that would be open for discussion further down the line.”