Fears over road safety, among other concerns, prompted a closer look at the site before councillors decide on a bid for hundreds of homes in Amble.
The outline application, for up to 500 homes on land to the south and south-east of James Calvert Spence College, off Acklington Road, was recommended for approval at Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee meeting on Tuesday night.
However, members voted by 10 votes to three to defer the decision for a site visit, largely due to concerns about the site having only one access, on a busy road which has a number of other residential accesses as well as the school sites.
Coun Richard Dodd said: “It’s 500 homes, one access is a big ask.”
Earlier in the meeting, Amble West with Warkworth councillor, Jeff Watson, had called on members to go and see the area, pointing out that the ‘huge development’ was ‘about the same size as the village of Warkworth, put onto the outskirts of Amble’.
However, the council’s highways team has said that the application is acceptable, following the addition of new measures, which would be subject to a legal agreement, including a new estate road junction serving the site, widening of Acklington Road to accommodate a ghost right-turn lane and a pedestrian refuge, new bus stops on Acklington Road, together with lay-bys and shelters, improved footway/cycleway connections down toward the school entrance and the relocation of the 30mph limit south-westward along Acklington Road plus new gateway features.
While the proposals are in outline at this stage and, if approved, would be followed by a reserved-matters application with the details, it is indicated that the site would comprise around 180 four-bedroom properties, 210 three-bedroom houses, 40 two-bedroom dwellings and 75 two and three-bedroom affordable homes (15 per cent of the total development).
The affordable homes would be secured via a section 106 legal agreement and as part of this, contributions to education, healthcare, sport and play, and ecological mitigation in Amble will also be considered.
The planning officer’s report concludes that the scheme ‘would deliver economic benefits through new housing and in social terms would deliver market and affordable housing in an appropriate location, which would help to sustain the existing community and associated services, as well as being able to contribute to improvements to existing services’.