Plans to build a further 185 houses in Amble, which have already been given the go-ahead once, were approved by councillors again this week.
The application, by North East-based developers The Home Group and Mr I Forsyth for land west of Gloster Meadows and south-east of New Hall Farm, went before Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee for a second time on Tuesday (January 8).
The outline scheme had returned because the council has taken the decision that where applications have been approved but the permissions not finally signed off, they should be reassessed in light of the Government’s updated planning rulebook, published in the summer.
But planners still recommended that the councillors back the proposals, which will require a new access off Acklington Road and feature a mix of house types and sizes including one and two-bedroom properties.
Coun Jeff Watson, ward member for Amble West with Warkworth, had originally opposed the scheme, first given the nod last July, but at Tuesday’s meeting said: “That’s water under the bridge, we are where we are.”
However, he called for some amendments to the contributions to be made by the developer to help benefit the town as much as possible.
Approval would be subject to a section 106 legal agreement to secure 28 affordable homes on site, a coastal mitigation contribution of £600 per property (a total of £111,000), £495,000 for education (£396,000 for primary and £99,000 for special educational needs) and £112,800 for health.
Coun Watson called for some of the education money to go to the secondary tier at James Calvert Spence College (JCSC) given that a string of other recent developments are all contributing to Amble’s first schools.
He also suggested diverting some of the coastal mitigation money to create/upgrade a route from the north of the site behind existing houses into the town centre.
The council’s ecologist, David Feige, said that legally, the coastal contribution had to be used to mitigate the impacts on nesting birds of recreational use of the coast.
Councillors were also told that the education team had been re-consulted and their view is that even with all of the other homes that have been approved recently, there is future capacity at the high school at JCSC.
Therefore, members were reluctant to tamper with the agreement, with the contributions set out based on formulae in relation to need, and voted unanimously to back the proposals as they were.
Coun Barry Flux said: “We will have to approve this and see how things progress in Amble going forward.”
The decision follows more than 900 homes across three other developments in Amble being given the go-ahead for the second time by the committee last month.
Those outline schemes were for up to 500 homes on land to the south and south-east of James Calvert Spence College (JCSC), off Acklington Road; up to 272 homes on land north-east of Amble Sewage Treatment Works, off Percy Drive; and up to 166 homes west of the A1068, to be known as Hauxley View, which were first approved in September, October and November 2017 respectively.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service