Members slam plans for flats and holiday lets

Land adjacent to Kingsfield in Seahouses.
Land adjacent to Kingsfield in Seahouses.

What Seahouses needs are affordable homes for families and not flats or more holiday properties, say councillors.

Opposing the latest plans for an estate on the coast, members mourned the lost character of local villages ‘surrounded by redbrick estates’ that enriched tourism operators.

Nigel Thompson, of Northumbria Leisure at Golden Sands Holiday Park, Cresswell, has applied for 88 homes and a health village next to King’s Field, on the sea front. It is said it would create the equivalent of six to eight full-time jobs.

The initial response from the county planning department is favourable, subject to environmental impact assessments, but at Monday night’s parish council meeting the response was hostile.

Chairman Geoffrey Stewart said the only properties intended to be affordable were nine flats in a two-storey block.

Coun David Donaldson asked: “What family with children wants an affordable flat?” The area needed affordable rented and shared-equity houses with gardens.

Members were also unimpressed by the idea of five-bedroom, three-storey properties, which they believed would be used only as holiday lets.

“The three villages – Bamburgh, Beadnell and Seahouses – are getting surrounded by redbrick estates,” Coun Donaldson said. “The three villages are being swamped by these developers who are only interested in this area for what money they can make out of it.”

Malcolm Cresswell, representing objectors, said it was a sensitive greenfield location in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). He described reports on its effects as ‘biased as they are in favour of the developer’. The sewerage system might not be able to cope with so many properties.

Members heard the AONB board shared the concern about holiday homes not being needed, density, quality and the introduction of three-storey houses not traditional in the area. Vertical blocks would ‘serve as an abrupt gateway to Seahouses’ a letter from the AONB said.