Concerns have been raised about the increasing number of second homes in Amble, as part of talks about a scheme for hundreds of new houses in the town.
And one objector fears that The Friendliest Port will become a victim of its own success if swathes of further properties are constructed.
The comments were raised on Tuesday night at Amble Town Council’s planning meeting, during discussions about an outline application for around 500 homes.
The proposed scheme is to build to the south-east of Acklington Road and behind James Calvert Spence College.
The developer is Hindhaugh Homes Ltd, represented by planning consultants Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners, but if the scheme progressed, it would be taken forward by a big house-builder, such as Barratt or Miller.
It is suggested that the houses would be a mix of two, three and four-bedroom properties, and there would be an affordable-housing element.
On Tuesday, numerous concerns were raised by the public and councillors, including the proposed access onto Acklington Road, whether the town’s infrastructure can cope with another 500 properties and that the scheme appears to straddle Amble bypass plans.
But the issue of second homes proved to be a big talking point. Resident Louise Little, who is Amble born and bred, said: “If you occupied every holiday and second home in Amble with full-time residents, you wouldn’t need any more homes to be built.
“I fear we will become so popular, we will be a victim of our own success and we crash and burn. These 500 houses will be snapped up as holiday homes and second homes because we are an upcoming tourist resort. What happens if the bottom comes out of the tourism industry? What strategy is in place to stop people from buying second homes?”
Coun Craig Weir said that second homes was an issue along the county’s coastline.
He pointed to a ban on second homes which has been introduced in St Ives, Cornwall, but until that becomes national legislation, ‘it will be difficult for a small town council to work something out of it and it might be too late for the application for the 500 houses’.