Approval sought for more new homes in Alnwick

The site in Alnwick where 15 self-build plots could be built. Picture from Google
The site in Alnwick where 15 self-build plots could be built. Picture from Google

Plans for another 15 homes in an area of Alnwick which has been the focus of a number of recent development bids are up for approval this week.

Northumberland Estates is seeking outline permission for 15 self-build plots on land north-east of Stoney Hills, between the golf course and Aydon View/Fairfields.

It is to the south of Alnwick Castle Golf Club’s current clubhouse and car park, where 10 detached houses were approved in October and access to the latest proposals would be via this site.

And to the south-west is the under-construction Willowburn Park development, where 271 homes are planned in total.

When submitted earlier this year, the bid was for 19 homes, but this has since been reduced to leave some open space on the site and now the application is recommended for approval at Thursday’s (December 20) meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council.

The scheme has attracted 14 objections from neighbours, pointing to the adverse landscape impact, the impact on ecology, road capacity and safety issues, and surface-water drainage.

Alnwick Town Council has also raised a number of concerns. Its response says: ‘Although this revised application reduces the number of dwellings from 19 to 15, this is a greenfield site which is not identified in the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan for housing.’

Alnwick Civic Society sets out the same point, as well as stating that the access arrangements are unsuitable and raising issues over the landscape impact of the proposal.

However, the planning officer’s report says that while not allocated in the neighbourhood plan, it is considered to be a ‘windfall site’ and given that it is surrounded on three sides by residential development and ‘spatially otherwise well contained within Alnwick’, it is suitable for housing.

It adds: ‘It is acknowledged that there will be an environmental impact resulting from the introduction of development to the area, although this impact in part is lessened through amendments to secure a landscaped area which is confirmed as part of the proposal’s layout.’

Approval would be subject to a section 106 legal agreement to secure a £101,250 off-site affordable-housing contribution, £102,000 for primary and secondary education in the town and £9,000 for coastal mitigation.

Given the approved scheme for new homes on the golf-club site, plans for a new clubhouse, including car parking and an access road, were submitted to Northumberland County Council back in July.

A previous proposal, for a new clubhouse and car park on land next to Greensfield Farmhouse, was approved in October 2016.

The new bid is for an area of grassland to the north of the 12th green and east of Close Cottage on the Rugley Road. It lies the other side of the golf course from the approved scheme and the Willowburn Park development.

And in August, the local area council also approved a new greenkeepers’ store, a steel-framed shed, measuring 20 metres by 12 metres and to be painted dark green, which also has to move to free up the housing site.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service