Plans for a £5million development of apartments for the elderly in Alnwick were given the green light this evening.
An outline application for around 213 homes as well as an Extra Care development consisting of 58 one and two-bedroom flats at Greensfield was approved along with the full planning application for the latter aspect at Northumberland County Council’s north area planning committee.
It was in July last year when the Gazette first revealed the £5million housing scheme for older people, following a successful bid for £2million of Government money by social landlord Isos Housing.
While there are concerns related to both aspects, including the access road from Weaver’s Way, which will be built first, the 213 new homes sparked the main objections. It was later clarified that only the 58 flats and 60 of the houses would be built before the second access road, from Willowburn Avenue.
Speaking in opposition to the outline plans, Peter Ennor, chairman of Alnwick Civic Society, criticised the trend for major developments coming in ahead of the completion of the town’s neighbourhood plan.
And John Humphries, speaking on behalf of nearby residents, spoke passionately against the proposals, citing the lack of need, the strain which would be placed on Alnwick’s infrastructure and facilities and traffic and road fears among other criticisms. His speech was applauded by a number of members of the public, who turned out for the meeting at the Northumberland Hall.
But Colin Barnes, of applicant the Northumberland Estates, said the site was appropriate and that new housing was needed as a key component of economic growth.
He added that the development would provide 82 affordable units as well as £100,000 to support the proposed sports facilities nearby, which have already been approved, and £300,000 towards the access road to the new high-school site, to commence before the end of the year.
Coun Castle said he appreciated residents’ concerns, but added: “The county needs housing, it needs affordable housing, and the site is an appropriate one.” He also moved acceptance of the full plans for the Extra Care scheme ‘as the need has been clearly identified by the housing officer’. “I have little doubt that it will fill up,” he added.
For more on these developments and tonight’s north area planning committee meeting, see next Thursday’s Northumberland Gazette.