Closed-down site all set to get a new lease of life

A housing provider is holding a consultation event today on proposals for a north Northumberland site, which was the subject of a controversial closure.

In April last year, the community in Wooler reacted with dismay after Berwick Borough Housing revealed to residents of Horsdonside sheltered housing complex that it was to close due to a lack of funding available to bring the accommodation up to standard.

It meant that around 25 elderly people had to find new homes.

But now, parent company Four Housing is unveiling a number of options for new housing development on the site.

The consultation event will take place in the Cheviot Centre.

Residents of Wooler, neighbouring parishes and other interested parties are invited to attend the drop-in session between 3pm and 7pm, to find out more about the range of housing options Four Housing is currently considering.

Dawn Keightley, group director of operations at Four Housing, said: “We are committed to investing in new affordable homes that meet the needs of people at different points in their lives.

“The plans for the site in Horsdonside are in the very early stages.

“Any proposals need to meet local housing requirements and address gaps in the current housing market.

“At present, Four Housing owns and manages 190 affordable homes in Wooler and we need to ensure any new homes complement our existing stock.”

In partnership with Northumberland County Council and Glendale Gateway Trust, Four Housing funded an independent housing report, which examines the housing need and demand in the area.

The Horsdonside proposals take account of the report’s findings and Four Housing is proposing to build a range of affordable homes including affordable rented, family housing and options to support independent living for older people.

Under current proposals, up to 20 new homes could be built on the site with private gardens, car parking and shared landscaped areas.

The purpose of the consultation event is to give the local community and key stakeholders an opportunity to share their thoughts and comment on the proposals.

Following feedback from the consultation event, a further pre-application proposal will be submitted to Northumberland County Council.

Ms Keightley said: “The consultation event is an essential part of the planning process, allowing us to work closely with the local community and our partners to ensure any development proposal makes a positive contribution and provides long-term sustainability in the local community.

“At Four Housing, we want to be the housing provider of choice and a part of this is having a strong relationship with members of the community.

“We want our existing and potential customers to shape the services we offer and this also extends to the type of homes we build.

“An initial consultation about the investment in the area was held in August.

“We’re looking forward to meeting with members of the community again and hearing what they have to say about our proposed plans in Horsdonside at the consultation on Thursday.”