Major housing scheme all set to get go-ahead

The proposed site of 500 new homes in Amble.'Picture by Jane Coltman
The proposed site of 500 new homes in Amble.'Picture by Jane Coltman

Plans for hundreds of new homes in Amble are set to get the green light next week, with the bid recommended for approval by planning officers.

The outline application, for up to 500 homes on land to the south and south-east of James Calvert Spence College, off Acklington Road, goes before Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee on Tuesday night.

Resident Michael Walters and architect Craig Van Bedaf at last year's public exhibition.  Picture by Jane Coltman

Resident Michael Walters and architect Craig Van Bedaf at last year's public exhibition. Picture by Jane Coltman

The scheme was unveiled at a public consultation event last October, when a number of residents expressed fears, particularly in relation to the town’s infrastructure not being able to cope with additional housing.
However, the scheme has only attracted 27 objections from residents. Amble Town Council has not objected, but has raised a series of concerns, such as highways safety, infrastructure and other provision.
In May, the plans were amended to include more open space and better dog-walking routes following an objection from Natural England.
While the proposals are in outline at this stage and, if approved, would be followed by a reserved-matters application with the details, it is indicated that the site would comprise around 180 four-bedroom properties, 210 three-bedroom houses, 40 two-bedroom dwellings and 75 two and three-bedroom affordable homes (15 per cent of the total development).

The affordable homes would be secured via a section 106 legal agreement and as part of this, contributions to education, healthcare, sport and play, and ecological mitigation in Amble will also be considered.

In terms of access, which also concerned a number of residents due to the weight of traffic already using Acklington Road and the fact that the school is located there, a number of highways improvements have been identified as necessary:

A new estate road junction with Acklington Road serving the site;

Localised widening of Acklington Road at the new estate junction in order to accommodate a ghost right-turn lane facility. This will include for the provision of a pedestrian refuge in the central carriageway area to facilitate pedestrians crossing safely to the existing footway network and new bus stop on the opposite side of Acklington Road;

Provision of bus stops on Acklington Road, together with lay-bys, shelters, level-access kerbing, clear markings and pole, etc;

Footway/cycleway connections between the estate road entrance leading toward the school entrance;

Relocation of 30mph limit south-westward along Acklington Road, together with gateway feature and associated works.

The planning officer’s report concludes that the scheme ‘would deliver economic benefits through new housing and in social terms would deliver market and affordable housing in an appropriate location, which would help to sustain the existing community and associated services, as well as being able to contribute to improvements to existing services.’

There are proposals for further housing development in Amble in the pipeline.

Earlier this month, Cheviot Holdings lodged two outline applications with the council, one for up to 272 houses on land north-east of Amble Sewage Treatment Works at Percy Drive and another, known as Hauxley View, for 166 homes to the west of the A1068.