Absolutely ridiculous and a step too far – these were just some of the scathing comments from concerned members of the public as another housing plan for Amble went on show.
The critical response came during a consultation event last Thursday, as emerging proposals for 275 homes on land at Percy Drive were unveiled.
Barton Willmore and Cheviot Holdings Ltd are involved in the draft scheme, which features a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced properties, as well as areas of open space and children’s play areas.
The public consultation event came three days after Arch exhibited a plan to build 51 rentable homes on the town’s Coquet Enterprise Park.
And today, another plan by Barton Willmore and Cheviot Holdings will go on show; this one, known as Hauxley View, is for ‘up to 200’ houses on land west of the A1068. The plan will be available to see at Amble Masonic Hall, on Gloster Terrace, between 3pm and 7pm.
It comes as a totally separate scheme for around 500 homes to the south-east of Acklington Road and behind James Calvert Spence College has already been submitted to Northumberland County Council.
Northumberland’s draft core strategy identifies a need for at least 600 new homes in Amble between 2011 and 2031.
The potential impact of around 1,000 new properties in the town – on the back of more than 40 houses being approved at Gloster Hill in December; Persimmon building 250 homes at Mark’s Bridge; and the completion of a 48 affordable-home scheme at Dandsfield Square – was the overriding concern at last Thursday’s public consultation.
One resident told the Gazette: “One-thousand homes can’t happen. It is too many. When will it stop?”
Another said: “Too many houses are being planned. This is a step too far.”
Another critic raised concerns about drainage.
The damning comments were not confined to the consultation event. At that evening’s Amble Town Council, members of the public and councillors raised concerns.
One resident said: “I am quite shocked about the amount of stuff I have had about new housing in the area. It has been a surprise to an awful lot of people.”
Coun Jeff Watson said: “The problem is infrastructure. I think where the objections lie here is with the infrastructure in the town.
“There must be something in planning that says you can’t put thousands of new people in a town of 6,000 and not do something about the doctors and the dentists and the roads.
“I think it’s too many for the town and I don’t think we are finished either!”
Coun Robert Arckless added: “I have been told that the 600 homes mentioned in the core strategy is a guide figure.
“I share the concerns about the scale of development, particularly the Percy Drive one, and I would like to know more about whether the proposals are phased.
“There is also an issue about parish boundaries, because this development proposal straddles Hauxley parish.
“It does feel like everyone wants to build and everyone wants to build now.”
The Gazette contacted Barton Willmore for comment, but did not receive one before going to press.