‘Desperate need’ for low-cost village homes

Stuart Rogers
Stuart Rogers

A developer says his plan to build sixty new homes on the edge of a Coquetdale village is driven by a chronic shortage of affordable properties.

Garage owner Stuart Rogers said there was considerable local need for the scheme he is now proposing for the western edge of Thropton, which will include up to 20 low-cost homes to accommodate people with a connection to the community.

At a public exhibition held at the Memorial Hall on Thursday, the plans were laid out for residents to examine and make comments on.

Mr Rogers said: “I would say that affordable housing is badly needed in this village. There are people who want to live here, or remain here, but can’t get mortgages because of the current house prices.

“The first houses that would be built on this site would be the affordable ones.

“I was born in Rothbury and I have lived here in Coquetdale all my life, so I understand the issues and what is needed.”

As well as the garage, Mr Rogers runs the shop and was responsible for reviving the fortunes of the ailing post office branch, which is now accommodated in his premises.

Tom Baker, planning consultant at Nathaniel Lichfield, which is involved in the application, said: “Northumberland County Council has forecast that over the next five years, only 11 affordable properties would be delivered in settlements such as Thropton.

“We have had pre-application meetings with the planning department which were positive and that is how we arrived at the overall quantity of housing we are proposing.”

Mr Rogers has also stated that he would help Thropton First School to expand its classroom space, should his development result in more children living in the village.

County councillor for Coquetdale, Steven Bridgett, said a number of factors had to be weighed up when considering such a large development, including infrastructure such as traffic and utilities.

He said: “I would like to hear residents’ views on this plan.”