Narrow approval for new homes in village

The site of proposed housing in Acklington.
The site of proposed housing in Acklington.

A controversial bid for a new housing development in the village of Acklington has been given the go-ahead – but it was very much a split decision.

At their meeting last Thursday, members of the county council’s North Northumberland Local Area Council voted by five votes to four, with one abstention, to approve plans for 22 new homes on land west of the village hall.

Four of the properties – two pairs of three-bedroom dwellings – would be affordable, while the remaining 18 would be four-bedroom houses.

A planning statement said that the affordable units would ‘supplement the four existing affordable homes that are already on site and which have proved extremely popular with 100 per cent occupancy since their completion’.

These were approved in 2013 in conjunction with the conversion of the buildings at Cavil Head Farm into 11 residential units, but objectors raised questions about how popular they were, claiming people known to the developer had occupied them.

The affordable homes were also of concern to Coun Steven Bridgett, who did not think they should be ‘segregated’ from the market housing, although the planning officer pointed out that they had simply been located next to the existing affordable homes on the site.

The objector speaking at the meeting raised a number of areas where she felt this application didn’t conform with planning policy and said: “This development is not satisfying any local need – we do not feel a need for any more houses on open fields in the village.”

However, the applicant’s agent Craig Ross, of George F White, said: “The site is in a sustainable location, the development meets the three strands of sustainability (economic, social and environmental) and would help support services nearby.”

As well as the affordable homes, a legal agreement will be signed to secure a contribution of £39,600 for first/primary education and £600 per home towards ecology.

Coun Jeff Watson also proposed that the developer to fund interactive speed signs on the western approach to the village.