The developers’ attitude and their apparent desire to work with the community helped garner support for hundreds more homes in Amble.
At Tuesday night’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee, members unanimously approved the outline application for up to 272 homes on land north-east of Amble Sewage Treatment Works, off Percy Drive.
At its September meeting, the committee gave the go-ahead to an outline bid for up to 500 homes to the south and south-east of James Calvert Spence College, off Acklington Road.
This latest scheme, which takes the total number of new homes approved in the Friendliest Port in the past five weeks to 772, was one of two unveiled by Barton Willmore and Cheviot Holdings in March. The second – known as Hauxley View – is for 166 homes to the west of the A1068.
However, unlike the scheme at Acklington Road, for which a number of concerns were raised at the meeting, this application attracted positive comments for how the developers, Cheviot Holdings, had gone about their business.
Coun Jeff Watson, ward member for Amble West with Warkworth, said that in a first for him, he was speaking at a planning committee to support an application.
“I do have concerns about over-development, but I’m a realist and I don’t see any planning reasons to refuse it,” he continued.
“This developer has been superb (in terms of consulting with residents and the town council) and what he has been asked to contribute to Amble is absolutely first-class.”
A section 106 legal agreement will be signed to secure not only the standard 15 per cent affordable housing on site, but also £2million for the town’s schools, £187,800 for GP facilities, £230,000 for sports facilities and £163,000 for ecological mitigation.
Maurice Sewell, chairman of Cheviot Holdings, spoke at the meeting to underline his company’s commitment to the community.
He said: “We believe our proposal offers the opportunity to deliver a first-class development not just in Amble, but for Amble.”
However, only about half of the site is in Amble parish, with the southern half in Hauxley parish, whose council objected on various grounds, and Coun Jeff Reid warned that this split-parish issue may cause problems in the future.
However, this was one of the only concerns raised by the committee members.
Coun Gordon Castle said: “It does seem a good development and I congratulate the developers for an example that other developers should follow. Pressure on infrastructure is always an issue and this is a significant contribution.”
Coun Bernard Pidcock added: “We seem to have a developer with a conscience and that is to be marvelled at. I hope others take their lead.”
The approval is also subject to the satisfactory completion of further studies in relation to ground contamination and archaeology.