Mixed response to housing on trading estate

The planned housing at Amble's Coquet Enterprise Park.
The planned housing at Amble's Coquet Enterprise Park.

Plans for a £7million housing development on Amble’s Coquet Enterprise Park have received a mixed response, with some opponents wanting to protect the trading estate for ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’.

The proposal, put forward by Arch, is for 51 low-energy homes for rent, with indicative charges between £350 and £700 pcm, depending on the property type.

It comprises a mix of one, two, three and four-bedroom terraced houses, flats and bungalows, with rear gardens, 80 car-parking places and landscaping.

Arch says that the homes plan is part of creating a vibrant mix of developments on the enterprise park. It is working with third parties to deliver a mix of uses, including a vet, retail units and a manufacturing facility.

When complete, the site will create around 70 new jobs, on top of construction jobs during the building phase.

It comes on the back of approval for a hotel and restaurant on the site. This £4million investment will create further jobs.

The homes scheme went on show on Monday and received varied responses, with Neil Turnbull, the Arch Group’s head of land and development, admitting some of the reaction had been hostile.

Critics say the project is in the wrong place, believing the trading estate should be utilised for business.

The impact on Amble’s infrastructure – especially in light of the fact that the scheme is one of numerous housing plans for the town – was also a concern.

But there were positive comments, with some people welcoming the rentable aspect of the scheme and saying the development would utilise the land.

Speaking out against the project, Amble town and county councillor Jeff Watson said: “This site is needed for jobs, not houses. If you build on the industrial estate, you reduce the amount of jobs you can bring.

“I am against this. Why not go for affordable housing, instead of rented housing? And in my opinion, there aren’t enough car-parking spaces.”

Fellow Amble Town councillor Martin Horn echoed his colleague’s concerns, saying: “It’s jobs, jobs, jobs that we need on this site. There are other places for housing around the town.”

But Amble Business Club chairman Ann Burke described the housing scheme as ‘excellent’, saying rentable homes are required in the town. She also questioned whether the site would attract industry, ‘as times are changing’.

One Amble resident said: “I think the homes look good and private-rent homes in Amble are needed and the planned site is empty. But infrastructure is a concern.”

Arch wants to submit an application this month, with the aim of starting work in September, subject to approval.

Mr Turnbull said: “It is about getting the balance right, between residential, infrastructure and employment. People have raised the pressure on infrastructure and we need to look at this.”

Amble county councillor Robert Arckless said: “We need to look at this in the wider context of the whole scheme. There is investment planned for the enterprise park, including retail development and the hotel. The housing is small-scale and for rent and the site they have identified for the housing is very close to existing housing. But I realise the concerns about building houses here.”