Axed site is priority for affordable homes

Anthony Murray
Anthony Murray

The site of a sheltered housing complex set for closure is one of the priorities for a housing association looking to build new homes.

But the parish council chairman has expressed concerns that while new homes is a positive step, the numbers don’t add up.

Horsdonside in Wooler

Horsdonside in Wooler

Berwick Borough Housing has outlined hopes of building a further 56 affordable homes in north Northumberland over the next three years, including plans to redevelop the Horsdonside sheltered housing complex site in Wooler.

At a council scrutiny meeting in Berwick, Paul Tanney, chief executive of Berwick Borough Housing, said that ‘in due course Horsdonside will become available for redevelopment’.

It is currently undertaking a housing needs study of the Glendale area to ascertain what type of housing would be most suitable for the site.

In April, it was announced that 25 elderly people would have to leave their homes due to a lack of funding to bring the accommodation up to Government standards.

Currently, there are still five people living there although two or three are due to move out shortly.

Coun Anthony Murray, ward member for Wooler, called for the Horsdonside scheme to start as soon as possible.

He said: “In my view there is a clear need for affordable homes in the Glendale area and I hope the housing needs survey bears that out. It’s very important that the Horsdonside redevelopment comes sooner rather than later.”

Mr Tanney responded: “There are still people living at Horsdonside which will obviously influence the timescale, and then there is the availability of funding to consider but we are very clear that we want to put quality homes, which are appropriate for Glendale on that site.”

However, Wooler Parish Council chairman Alfreda Hindmarsh pointed out that the 56 homes mentioned includes 40 at Highcliffe in Spittal, leaving 16 potential homes for Horsdonside and Berwick town centre.

She said: “It’s great that there’s new homes but considering they have taken out 33 units from the community, we will be getting a percentage of 16 homes.

“It’s good that they are looking to the future and they are moving in the right direction in that they are looking to build new houses.”