Green light for affordable homes

This site on land south of Dandsfield Square, Amble, is already being developed by the county council.
This site on land south of Dandsfield Square, Amble, is already being developed by the county council.

Northumberland’s affordable-housing programme received a boost this week as planning permission was granted for 20 new council homes.

The county council’s planning and environment committee approved the scheme at Fairfield View in Shilbottle on Tuesday night. The proposals also include the demolition of an industrial unit on the site, highway improvements to Ashfield Terrace and on-site drainage.

There will be a mix of housing types with four one-bedroom apartments, four two-bedroom bungalows, eight two-bedroom houses and four three-bedroom houses.

The plans had sparked objections from Shilbottle Parish Council as well as from 38 residents. Concerns cited included highway impact, impact on ecology, flooding and drainage issues and pedestrian access to other parts of the village.

However, the planning officer’s report concluded that it ‘would result in an acceptable and sustainable form of development in this sustainable village centre that would make a positive contribution to supporting the existing community, services and facilities’.

The scheme is part of Northumberland County Council’s drive to build or support the development of 1,000 new social homes and it has committed at least £30million to developing affordable housing in the county.

There is a high and proven need for more affordable homes across Northumberland and the council has placed a strong emphasis on developing new homes itself as well as working in partnership with other agencies and housing developers.

Coun Allan Hepple, policy board member responsible for housing, said: “I am very pleased that planning permission has been approved for this scheme. Our housing-needs assessment shows that in the north of the county, 242 new affordable homes are needed each year.

“In designing the scheme, we have also used information from applicants registered with Northumberland Homefinder to determine the types of homes that are needed in the Shilbottle area.”

This scheme comes on top of a development of 48 homes that is underway in Amble, while further proposals are in the works, including for the former quarry site in Embleton.

Each of the new homes at Shilbottle will meet the latest Homes and Communities Agency space standards and be fitted with photovoltaic panels – helping residents to reduce energy bills.

The new homes will be owned by Northumberland County Council and managed on the council’s behalf by Homes for Northumberland.