Affordable units dropped from Alnwick scheme

Coun Dave Ledger and Coun Grant Davey at the Malthouse site in Alnwick.
Coun Dave Ledger and Coun Grant Davey at the Malthouse site in Alnwick.

A stalled flats development in Alnwick which is set to be completed after years of inaction will not provide any further affordable homes.

Earlier this year, work restarted on The Maltings/Bolam’s Mill, on Dispensary Street, which had been left empty and half–built after stalling during the credit crunch in 2008.

Ascent Homes, the house-building arm of Arch – the development company fully owned by Northumberland County Council, is completing the scheme.

But it has now been agreed that the three flats which were due to be affordable units, out of 33 in total, will not be required, after a bid to change the section 106 legal agreement was approved by the county council’s planning committee on Tuesday.

This is because the scheme has already delivered nine off-site affordable homes at St James’ Court.

When the agreement was signed, there were due to be 12 affordable homes under the then Alnwick District Council’s 35 per cent requirement, but the county council’s emerging core strategy sets the requirement at 15 per cent – fewer than the nine already delivered.

Alnwick Town Council did not object, but was disappointed that the developers are not fulfilling the balance of the original agreement for affordable housing.

This view was reflected by two of the members of the planning committee, who voted against the changes, saying that the developers knew the financial situation when they took on the site.