Homes proposal approved, but reprieve possible

Objectors to the Northumberland Estates' housing plans for Warkworth. Picture by The Ambler.
Objectors to the Northumberland Estates' housing plans for Warkworth. Picture by The Ambler.

The third in a trio of housing bids in a north Northumberland village has been given the go-ahead, but the Secretary of State will get the final say.

An outline application by Northumberland Estates for around 50 homes and associated public open space and infrastructure, at Guilden Road in Warkworth, was approved at Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee.

However, the committee was only able to say it was minded to approve the bid, as the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has indicated he wants to call in the application and could decide it should be determined by his department.

This scheme forms the final part of a trilogy of schemes in the village that are greatly concerning residents due to the over-development they perceive will be caused by the cumulative effect of the bids.

In March, proposals for around six properties at Hermitage Drive and for around nine homes on land west of Watershaugh Road were given the go-ahead, but were also awaiting a decision from the Secretary of State.

The council has heard that these decisions will not be called in and the county council’s approval will stand.

Coun Andrew Tebbutt said: “I’m not particularly happy with this application, but I’m actually very pleased that it’s been called in by the Secretary of State, because hopefully he will take an independent view on over-development. I think there are some serious questions in here as to whether there are benefits to this village.”

Coun Gordon Castle added: “My main difficulty with this is how big would we be prepared to let Warkworth grow? I’m going to support the recommendation though, because I don’t think there’s a planning reason for refusing it.”