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Decision due on plans for affordable homes

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A bid to build 20 affordable homes in a village on the north Northumberland coast is recommended for approval when it goes before councillors.

At tomorrow’s meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council, members are advised to give the go-ahead to an outline application for the housing development on land south-west of St Cuthbert’s Close, off Main Street, in North Sunderland.

The site is outside the settlement boundary as designated in the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan, which goes to referendum on the same day.

However, the proposals are now considered acceptable as it is being put forward as a ‘rural exception site’ with all 20 of the homes to be affordable in perpetuity.

The scheme in its previous guise was first unveiled to the parish council in November 2016 before the application was submitted in May last year.

It was due to go before the local area council back in December and, at that stage, there was a condition that the homes would all have to be permanent residences – to meet another policy in the emerging neighbourhood plan.

The application was withdrawn from the agenda by the county council and further work has resulted in last month’s amendment that all of the properties would be affordable homes, although the details of type and tenure are flexible at this stage.

Initially, the plan sparked 24 objections from residents, dropping to 12 after re-consulting on the changes.

North Sunderland Parish Council highlighted a number of concerns which would prevent it from supporting the bid at first, but its latest view will be provided as an update at the meeting.

A section 106 legal agreement would also mean that the developer would have to provide a contribution towards education of £35,200 as well as £600 per property (£12,000 total) towards coastal mitigation.

Further down the coast, in Alnmouth, members are also advised to give the go-ahead to an application to extend the garage at 10 Wellfield Gardens to create a one-bedroom holiday-let annex.

Alnmouth Parish Council and six neighbours have objected, but the planning officer has deemed it acceptable and recommended approval.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service