More homes on the horizon

Housing concerns: Scott Dickinson in Hadston.
Housing concerns: Scott Dickinson in Hadston.
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A new development plan has been put forward to bring up to 2,000 new affordable homes to the county in the next 10 years.

Labour group and Northumberland County Council leader Grant Davey has pledged that the authority will ‘work with local communities to use existing planning laws to help areas survive and prosper’ after he welcomed neighbourhood plans drawn up by Allendale Parish Council.

He also revealed that the council would be looking to bring forward a 10-year development plan setting out how it would tackle the housing waiting list which currently tops more than 12,000 people.

The plan will reveal how Labour aims to build over 1,300 affordable homes in the next four years but will also include plans to build a further 650 homes to meet rising demand. A new planning framework will also be drawn up.

It is believed that Labour will bring forward a draft plan setting out development priorities within three months.

Coun Davey said: “We were elected to build at least 1,300 new affordable homes and it’s clear this has significant public support.

“We will come forward with a 10-year development plan which has the aim to clear the housing waiting list and to give our residents the chance to prosper in the county.

“We face challenges as a county such as an ageing population and we’ve got to act now to plan for future need.”

Labour has estimated that the plan to build an extra 650 homes across Northumberland could create an additional 750 construction jobs and would mean a potential £35million bonanza for the local economy. It would also safeguard 400 jobs in the supply chain. It would be the most ambitious housing scheme in Northumberland for more than 40 years.

The draft proposals will be among the first policies to progress through the new policy board chaired by Labour councillor Scott Dickinson, of Druridge Bay, and will be discussed and challenged by opposition councillors before they finally become policy.