A scheme for hundreds of new homes in Amble, which was unveiled to the public three months ago, has been lodged with the county council.
An outline application for around 500 homes on a 24.9-hectare (61.5-acre) site to the south-east of Acklington Road and behind James Calvert Spence College has been submitted to Northumberland County Council.
The developer is Hindhaugh Homes Ltd, represented by planning consultants Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners, but Hindhaugh is acting on a land-promotion basis for the landowner, so if the scheme progressed, it would be taken forward by a big house-builder, such as Barratt or Miller.
The housing mix would be confirmed at the reserved-matters stage, as this is an outline bid, but the suggestion is that 20 per cent of the homes would be two-bedroom (up to 100), 40 per cent three-bedroom (up to 200) and 40 per cent four-bedroom (up to 200).
The proposal is to provide 15 per cent affordable housing, up to 75 homes, in line with the county council’s current requirements. The norm is that 67 per cent of these are for social rent and 33 per cent for sale at discount market value or shared ownership, although this detail will be dealt with at a later stage via a section 106 legal agreement.
A planning statement submitted by the applicant concludes that the proposals ‘accord with the development plan’, that it ‘represents sustainable development in terms of its accessibility and also in terms of social, economic and environmental considerations’ and that ‘there are no adverse impacts that would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the development proposal’.
Residents in Amble were able to take a look at the scheme at an exhibition and consultation event last October, where the perceived benefits of the new housing were highlighted.
These include the number of jobs which would be created and the multimillion-pound boost to the area’s economy, as well as the fact that 15 per cent of the homes would be affordable.
However, among the public present, there were mixed views about whether the development was needed or wanted in Amble, as well as a couple of key issues which many residents were concerned about, echoing those of local councillors Jeff Watson and Robert Arckless.
One was whether the town’s infrastructure could cope with the addition of another 500 homes, with particular reference to the doctors and the fact that Amble still doesn’t have a supermarket.
Meanwhile, another concern is the access to the development being from Acklington Road, with the tricky junction at the Masons Arms highlighted as a problem. An access from the A1068 to the eastern side of the proposed site would be preferable in the eyes of many residents, although land ownership meant this is not possible.
The council’s emerging core strategy identifies a need for at least 600 new homes in Amble between 2011 and 2031 and this is highlighted within the application. However, it is worth pointing out that Persimmon is building 250 new homes on land at Mark’s Bridge, on land bordering the eastern edge of this proposed site, while 42 new homes at Gloster Hill were approved last month.