Divided views on bid for new housing site

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Parish councillors were at odds with neighbours over outline plans for new homes in North Sunderland.

At Monday night’s meeting of North Sunderland Parish Council, members agreed to back the plans – with certain caveats – for a site to the west of the cemetery extension.

But a number of residents from St Cuthbert’s Close, through which access would be provided from South Lane, also attended the meeting, which became quite heated, and expressed a number of concerns about the scheme.

The exact number of homes on the site would be dealt with at the reserved-matters stage along with the other details, such as the types of houses.

However, the application, submitted by George F White on behalf of landowners Mrs S Carr and Mr W Dunn, explains that an illustrative layout demonstrates that the site can accommodate 20 properties at a low density.

Fifteen per cent of the homes (three properties) would be affordable in line with the council’s current policy.

Councillors were keen that the affordable homes should be for rent to local people, not discount market value, and that the properties should be permanent residences, not second homes or holiday lets.

Planning consultant Stephanie Linnell, from George F White, said both of these could be dealt with in the section 106 agreement.

Coun Maureen Bramley also raised concerns about additional homes putting pressure on South Lane, leading members to also request that the road widening required as part of the St Cuthbert’s Close development should take place before any construction on these new homes.

However, summarising the views of those living near the site, one resident said: “The local residents consider that the proposal should not be supported, the main reason being, in line with the NPPF, that there’s no exceptional circumstances being demonstrated for a major development on a greenfield site in the AONB.”

A woman added: “It’s in the AONB which is an attraction and if you keep chipping away at it, you won’t get any tourists. It (development) will continue into that greenfield site.”