Anger over delays on affordable homes at controversial Rothbury development
A Northumberland councillor has blasted hold-ups over affordable homes at a controversial development and called on the authority to take action.
Coun Steven Bridgett, who represents Rothbury, has accused Northumberland County Council of ‘failing to comply with its statutory obligations’ over a delay on the delivery of affordable homes at a new housing estate in the village.
Plans by the Northumberland Estates for 57 new homes on land at the south-eastern entrance of Rothbury were reluctantly given the go-ahead by councillors back in January 2016.
A legal agreement to secure 17 affordable homes stated ‘not more than 15 of the open market dwellings shall be occupied until 10 of the affordable housing units have been practically completed and made available for occupation’.
But Scottish housebuilder Robertson Homes has not completed any of the affordable units, despite more than 15 of the open-market properties being occupied.
Coun Bridgett called for the county council to take enforcement action to ensure that the affordable housing becomes available in August.
“It is evident from discussions with council officers that the current council planning position is to sit on its hands, hide behind weak policy and hope the developer meets the current deadline,” he said.
“Meanwhile, I am left to explain to my residents, who have been allocated some of the new properties, that I actually have no idea when they will be able to move in and all the council can do is hope that the developer meets this new deadline.”
He said there was no point in the council imposing planning conditions if it did not enforce them.
A Northumberland County Council spokeswoman said the authority was continuing to monitor the delivery of housing on the site and would “consider various avenues of enforcement” if necessary.
“As a council, we are pleased that the site will provide 17 new affordable homes in Rothbury and expect these to be available in the near future.”
A spokeswoman for Robertson Homes confirmed that completion of the affordable homes had been delayed while service installation was completed.
She added: “We have worked closely with the council throughout and are on track to hand these properties across to registered housing provider, Riverside, by the end of the summer.”