A scheme for up to 66 homes in a north Northumberland village, which some fear will exacerbate flooding and road issues, has been approved.
The outline application, for around 60 homes, up to a maximum of 66, in Longhoughton was given the go-ahead unanimously by the county council’s strategic planning committee.
The bid had been submitted by Northumberland Estates for land to the north of Station Road, where the access road would be located, and to the west of the church of St Peter and St Paul.
Speaking on behalf of Longhoughton Parish Council, local ward member, Coun Kate Cairns, highlighted that flooding and sewerage, and highways safety were among the chief concerns, much as they were at a public meeting in the village last November.
Responding to questions from committee members, a council expert explained that surface water does pool in the south-east corner of the site and that much effort has been put in to finding a solution.
The site will have a new outflow pipe which will take all of the water directly to the North Sea. Despite the distance, this is thought to be feasible as all of the land needed is in the ownership of the Northumberland Estates.
Guy Munden, from the applicants, emphasised that Longhoughton is a sustainable location for development, this is the only real practical site for housing in the village and that 15 per cent affordable housing would be provided.
Coun Cairns also highlighted the parish council’s wish-list if the application was to be approved, which included space being left for the expansion of the graveyard; for there to be a mixture of house types; and for the properties not to be sold as second or holiday homes.
The council also wanted the section 106 agreement, which will secure the affordable homes, to fund the upgrading of the facilities at Westfield Park; major upgrades to pedestrian footpaths; the provision of a pub; the provision of a disabled access-friendly doctors’ surgery; and additional resources for the school.
However, planning officers made it clear that they did not consider it reasonable for a developer to provide this level of financial input based on a scheme of around 60 homes.
Coun Bernard Pidcock moved approval, but said: “We always get applications to build homes, but not what the community needs, like a pub. I’m moving the recommendation with somewhat of a heavy heart.”
But Coun Gordon Castle said: “More people does increase the likelihood of such places coming back into being. In this case, you have to look at the planning application; you can have sympathy, but I can find no planning reason to refuse it.”
Coun Trevor Thorne added: “The applicant isn’t just coming in and building houses. The great benefit to the community is that we are getting affordable dwellings.
“It’s our wish that we were able to provide more buildings and shops for the community, but 60 new homes will be a shot in the arm for community facilities.”
Coun Andrew Tebbutt said: “My other concern is that this development is very, very close to the East Coast Mainline. I suggest that this is a fairly fast part of the track and speeding trains tend to make a bit more noise, although they take less time going past.
“I really do hope that public protection will look very, very hard at the details.”