Decision deferred on scheme for 57 homes

Coun Steven Bridgett at the site of the proposed housing opposite the middle school in Rothbury.
Coun Steven Bridgett at the site of the proposed housing opposite the middle school in Rothbury.

Councillors want to take a closer look at plans for almost 60 homes in Rothbury before making a final decision on the locally-opposed scheme.

Northumberland Estates’ application for houses on land either side of Garleigh Road was deferred by Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee on Tuesday afternoon to allow members to go on a site visit.

It was recommended for approval subject to the completion of a section 106 legal agreement to secure the delivery of on-site affordable housing.

The site is split into two development areas. The first, for 40 private homes, is to the south of existing properties at Lordenshaw Drive.

The second, for17 affordable houses, is to the south of Dr Thomlinson’s C of E Middle School and Silverton Lane.

While the councillors opted to go for a site visit, this decision was taken after the public-speaking section of the meeting, which saw two residents and the area’s county councillor, Stephen Bridgett, speak against the proposals.

Coun Bridgett pointed out that while ‘we have always accepted that we must do our fair share, like every other community in the county’, Rothbury shouldn’t always over-deliver on its housing targets. If this scheme were approved, Rothbury would be 20 per cent above its housing figure in the Core Strategy 15 years before the end of the plan period.

He also pointed out that Northumberland Estates, had approval for two schemes, in Thropton and Rothbury, both including affordable homes and nothing was happening.

Resident Jan Beckers said: “We have already had more than our fair share of attention from Northumberland Estates.”

Barry Spall, from the developer, spoke in favour of the scheme.

“Rothbury is a main service centre and a sustainable location to which development should be directed,” he said.

He added that the site was suitable, according to the county council’s own housing land assessment, that there are limited sites available in Rothbury, that there were no statutory objections on issues such as drainage or highways issues and that 30 per cent affordable housing would be provided.