Homes for local people to rent in Arch buyout

Labour candidate David Paul at the proposed development site in Beadnell.
Labour candidate David Paul at the proposed development site in Beadnell.

A proposed development of 52 houses in Beadnell could be bought out by Arch to provide homes to let to local people.

The Gazette understands that the deal will be discussed by Arch, the development company wholly owned by Northumberland County Council, at its board meeting today.

In January, Teesside-based company Hellens Residential revealed proposals for the new properties on land to the west of the village, which has a high proportion of second homes.

Its scheme, to include two and three-bedroom semi-detached houses, 24 four and five-bedroom detached homes and four three-bedroom bungalows, would likely have delivered 15 per cent affordable housing in line with council policy.

But documents seen by the Gazette, assessing the purchase for £10.2million, almost 30 per cent below market value, show that Arch would make the homes available on assured shorthold tenancy agreements at affordable rents for full-time residents.

Geoff Martindale, chairman of Beadnell Parish Council, said: “Overwhelmingly, what people in Beadnell want is permanently occupied affordable housing for families working in the local area.

“Any development in Beadnell raises considerable community interest, especially in this case, coming so soon after other major housing schemes in the village, not least because of its sheer scale and location.”

David Paul, the Labour candidate for the Bamburgh ward in the county council elections, said: “I attended the presentation that Hellens Residential gave in January and it was abundantly clear that local people were desperate to stop more development on their doorstep that would only benefit wealthy investors, not local families.

“I believe that because planning regulations on new housing, even on beautiful rural sites such as this, have been relaxed so much by central government, it’s going to go ahead one way or another.

“I empathise completely with Beadnell residents who don’t want their village to become one giant housing estate, but 52 affordable homes for local families to rent is better than 52 holiday homes and would at least breathe new life into the village.”

He added: ““Of course, the benefit for residents in the Bamburgh ward and across Northumberland is that even when making these new homes available to tenants at affordable rents, Arch makes a decent profit and that money can then used by the county council to prop up the services it must provide despite relentless central-government cuts.”