Military homes put up for rent on open market

The former Johnnie Johnson Housing building, which has been demolished. Picture by Jane Coltman
The former Johnnie Johnson Housing building, which has been demolished. Picture by Jane Coltman

Vacant military houses in Longhoughton are to be made available to rent on the open market in an attempt to fill them.

But parish council chairman Bryan Ellis hopes that this does not impact on the provision of affordable housing which has been put forward in a separate planning application for the village.

At Monday night’s Longhoughton Parish Council meeting, members heard that the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) had agreed to make a selection of the empty military houses available to the public.

A national letting agency will be contacted to advertise, find and vet applicants for the military houses and to set the market rent.

The houses will be mainly two-bedroom properties, but there will be a few three and four-bedroom homes as well.

Recently, Storey Homes applied to build 66 new houses – comprising a portion of affordable housing – to the north of Station Road.

Coun Ellis welcomed the affordable housing element of the scheme, but hopes the developer sticks to it, especially in light of the DIO making the military homes available for rent.

He said: “If they do what they say they will do, regarding the affordable houses, as well as provisions for drainage, then they have met some of our concerns. The houses look quite attractive too.

“But I hope that putting the military houses on the market doesn’t give the developer at Station Road a way out of building the affordable homes.”

Meanwhile, Coun Billy Bell gave an update on the former Johnnie Johnson Housing plot.

He said: “Coun Eleanor Phillips said she had been in touch with the county council and they have got no plans for developing that plot.

“Coun Phillips believes it should be left as an open space, but my own view is that it is a valuable piece of housing land.”