New homes plans revealed

A representative of Four Housing talks through the various options with a local resident.
A representative of Four Housing talks through the various options with a local resident.

More than 100 people turned out last week to learn more about development plans for the site of a closed sheltered housing complex in Wooler.

To the dismay of the community, Horsdonside’s closure was announced in April 2012, but last Thursday, Four Housing unveiled proposals for new homes on the site.

The three options consist of 14, 16 and 18 new properties, made up of a mix of property types – two-bedroom bungalows, two-bedroom houses and two-bedroom apartments.

All three options encompass eight existing bungalows.

But some residents did express concerns.

Mr Sterne said: “My own worry about it is the affordable housing. It should have been kept as smaller houses for older people. Any affordable housing will end up on the open market within a few years.”

Another Wooler resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “They are not considering sheltered housing. Most people assumed there would be something to replace Horsdonside.

“I know there’s a shortage of affordable housing in Wooler, but we still need sheltered housing for people who want independence, but need support.”

Another local resident was concerned about mixing older residents and families on the same site. “It should have been kept for elderly residents,” she added.

Dawn Keightley, group director of operations at Four Housing, thanked everyone who went along to the event to share their views and said she was pleased with ‘the feedback in support of delivering a mixed community’.

Responding to concerns about the lack of sheltered housing, she explained that they understand the county council is considering plans for a 50-unit Assisted Living Scheme, ‘which will help to meet this demand’.

“At Four Housing, we want to be the housing provider of choice and part of this is having a strong relationship with members of the community,” she added. “We’re committed to working closely with the local community and our partners to ensure any development makes a positive contribution and provides long-term sustainability in the local community.”