Call for appropriate housing on the coast

Coun Bryn Own represents Craster. Picture by Susan Dawson.
Coun Bryn Own represents Craster. Picture by Susan Dawson.

‘We need housing that meets our needs.’ That was the impassioned request from a parish council chairman during an update about an important planning document.

Coun Bryn Owen, who represents Craster, made the appeal during last Thursday’s North Northumberland Local Area Council meeting, in Alnwick.

His call for appropriate housing along the county’s coastal strip came as members were being updated on work to produce a new Northumberland Local Plan.

A public consultation runs until Wednesday and the interactive online survey will allow residents to identify general locations for new housing and jobs, and identify what key issues the plan should address.

Coun Owen said: “We have a problem up and down the coast – we have appropriate development sites, but we don’t have appropriate housing. We are not short of houses, but we are short of homes. Most of what is being built is what developers can make money on – holiday/second homes, big homes.

“In Embleton, for example, I know a young teacher who can’t afford to buy a house in the village, and it’s the same sort of situation in Craster.

“We need appropriate housing – how can this be factored into the Local Plan so that we get a strategic plan that meets our needs?”

In response, the county-council officer who was giving the update, said: “We are updating the strategic housing market assessment and looking at different areas around Northumberland.

“What we can’t do is control the market, but what we can do is try to ensure that we support community housing and affordable housing schemes and we will have policies in place to aim to ensure that we get appropriate types of housing in the appropriate places.”

Earlier this year, housing schemes for Bamburgh and Seahouses were withdrawn due to the progress of the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan, which covers the two villages, plus Beadnell.