Homes and not holiday lets

Alnmouth allotments.
Alnmouth allotments.

A north Northumberland seaside village looks set to get 23 new homes ratherthan the holiday properties originally planned.

And the chairman of Alnmouth Parish Council is positive about the new planning application following the council’s work with the developer Northumberland Estates.

The former Boys Club in Alnmouth.

The former Boys Club in Alnmouth.

Plans have been submitted to Northumberland County Council for the construction of 13 residential properties, including five affordable homes, at the allotment site on Foxton Road.

Some of the site will be used to create 12 improved allotment sites and the existing woodland will be retained. Across the road, the approved plans to build 10 holiday apartments on the site of the Boys’ Club have been amended to provide another 10 residential properties.

The parish council was against the initial plans, but since their approval in November 2011, has worked with the Estates on the new scheme.

A total of 23 residential properties now means that there would be a reasonable proportion of affordable homes.

And parish council chairman Bill Bourne is positive about the new homes.

He said: “There’s a need for housing in this village which is appropriate, particularly for older residents. We also have residents who want their children to live in the village but there aren’t suitable properties.

“We know how important the holiday industry is to us but you need to strike a balance and make sure you maintain a viable residential community.”

And while there is no guarantee that some of the properties wouldn’t be bought as second homes, Coun Bourne wants to try to ensure the properties are available to people who want to live in them.

“Using covenants, it’s possible to prevent properties from being used purely as holiday cottages, registered for business rates,” he said.

“We would certainly encourage the Estates to look at that. I think they are quite sympathetic, they want people living in the homes as much as we do.”

Coun Bourne also said that the community had been kept in the loop, including at a recent public meeting, at which the 50 or so residents who attended were positive about the scheme.

“There’s sorrow about the loss of some of the allotments but you have to compromise sometimes,” he said.

“There’s even more sorrow about the loss of the Boys’ Club, which was held in great affection by the village, but it’s gone now and there’s no point crying over spilt milk.”