Islanders happy at poll result

Green Lane car park on Holy Island
Green Lane car park on Holy Island

A referendum on Holy Island has overwhelmingly backed the creation of a special planning document to guide future housing development.

Residents were asked whether they agreed that new housing should only be allowed where the properties are the main residence of the occupiers.

They were also asked if they agreed that, because of the island’s age profile, at least half should be affordable and 50 per cent available to rent via a registered social landlord.

Eighty out of 83 islanders who voted in last Thursday’s poll were in favour of the new guidelines.

John Bevan, clerk to Holy Island Parish Council, said: “We hope that this rule will affect all future planning applications for new build on Holy Island and will ensure that Northumberland County Council planners must take into account the conservation status of the village.”

Kyle Luke, a Holy Islander born and bred and now landlord of The Crown & Anchor pub, said: “We are a small community with a strong identity which contributes to the special nature of Holy Island and its attraction to visitors.

“But being so small makes us vulnerable. More than 50 per cent of houses here are already holiday homes and any inappropriate development could ruin the village and the community.”

The referendum had been formally requested by the parish council following a meeting to discuss the proposed sale of around half the existing gravel car park and part of the grassed overflow area at Green Lane car park by the county council.

That was before the local authority, after listening to feedback from residents, withdrew the site from sale last month.