Villagers object to affordable homes bid

A village with a critical shortage of affordable homes is said to be ‘overwhelmingly against’ plans to build 25 new properties on a vacant field.

But rather than an exclusive new estate, the scheme has been put forward by a social landlord which will make the homes rental only.

A public meeting has been called for Tuesday evening at Longframlington’s Memorial Hall to discuss the scheme for Rothbury Road, which proposes a mixture of two-bed bungalows and two and three-bed houses.

Developer Two Castles Housing Association, which has just started work on a £1.7million affordable housing development in Bellingham, says priority will be given to locals, particularly those with a connection to the village.

The average price for a home in Longframlington is just over £235,000, while monthly rents sit at just under £450.

It means that young people from the village are effectively being priced out of their own community and forced to move elsewhere.

An exhibition was held in the hall last Thursday, which drew large numbers of residents wanting to see the plans for themselves and ask questions.

But objectors have drafted an extensive list of concerns over the scheme, saying it could open the floodgates for other developments since it involves land which falls outside the village envelope.

John McCutcheon, who lives at Rookwood Gardens, called the meeting.

“Lots of issues came out of the exhibition, the main one being lack of communication and insufficient information provided by Two Castles,” he said. “There were a lot of knee-jerk reactions so I suggested that a public meeting be held.

“Probably the vast majority of people in the village recognise there is a need for affordable housing, both to buy and rent, but I would say that the vast majority of the village is strongly against this development.

“There are traffic issues to consider, loss of amenity, the scale and location, the lack of existing infrastructure including drainage and sewage and the precedent this will likely set for other parts of the village. It could open the floodgates for further development.”

Rob Brittain, property services director at Two Castles Housing Association, said: “We are committed to the provision of high-quality, affordable housing and successfully work in partnership in order to bring these benefits to local communities.

“This is a site where a huge need for affordable housing has previously been identified.”

The meeting starts at 7pm.