Housing scheme on Northumberland coast amended again

The proposed development site in Seahouses. Picture from Google
The proposed development site in Seahouses. Picture from Google

A long-running bid to build new homes on the southern edge of a north Northumberland seaside village has been amended once again.

The application, for land east of King’s Field in Seahouses, was updated in August to propose 32 principal occupancy houses, all of which would be affordable.

This should mean that all of the properties, on the seaward side of the housing development often described as a ‘ghost estate’ due to the high number of second homes, would be lived in full-time by local people in housing need.

The latest changes appear to be a response to the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan, which passed referendum in May before being formally ‘made’ by the county council in July.

The well-publicised policy 14 states that all new housing will only be supported if it is restricted in perpetuity for principal residency.

The application site also falls outside the Seahouses settlement boundary, as defined in the neighbourhood plan.

However, policy nine does allow for exceptions, including, as in this case, for 100 per cent affordable housing provision, although only where it doesn’t have ‘a negative impact on sensitive settlement edges’.

The proposal is for 11 two-bedroom bungalows, 10 three-bedroom homes and 11 four-bedroom houses.

The prospect of development has been hanging over this site for more than five years.

In March 2013, Northumbrian Leisure Ltd applied for outline permission to build 88 houses and a health village.

This was amended in December that year and again in December 2014, with the health village removed and the number of homes slightly reduced. This application has still yet to be decided.

Then, in March last year, full planning permission was sought for 39 homes, which was updated in November so that there would six affordable bungalows and 19 of the homes would be restricted to prime occupancy.

The proposals up to this point have consistently sparked objections from residents as well as North Sunderland Parish Council.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service