A controversial proposal to build hundreds of houses on the edge of Alnwick has been formally submitted.
Northumberland Estates has lodged its application – for 270 homes on land at Windy Edge – with Northumberland County Council.
The scheme, to be accessed via a widened Peter’s Mill Lane along Alnmouth Road, comprises a mix of styles and sizes, ranging from two to five bedrooms.
If approved, 87 homes would be built in the first phase, with Alnwick-based Cussins constructing the scheme.
However, there is opposition to the proposal and the Alnmouth Road Residents’ Association (ARRA) has been formed to contest the plans.
The formal bid follows a public consultation and the Estates says that it has taken feedback into account, with some minor amendments made to the initial proposals.
One change includes the construction of a temporary haul road into the site from Denwick Lane for use by construction traffic to address concerns over traffic conflicts on Alnmouth Road.
The Estates says that it has also added a number of bungalows within the housing mix, which already includes 15 per cent affordable housing.
Colin Barnes, of the Estates, said: “We were delighted to gather so many positive comments at the public exhibition.
“The inclusion of so much green space was particularly well received, as were our efforts to create a number of new footpaths within the development and to link these to existing paths in the area.
“The scheme will include a substantial amount of additional tree planting and other measures designed to deliver a unique, as well as a high-quality, development.
“There can be no question that this type of housing is needed in Alnwick. The site has already been allocated for development within the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan, which was widely supported by residents and the town council.
“We have made every effort to create a well thought-out scheme which makes the most of this excellent location adjoining the town of Alnwick.”
However, chairman of ARRA, Dr Tricia Cresswell, said the group has numerous concerns.
She said: “ARRA opposes the planning application to build 270 houses on the Windy Edge site with sole vehicle access to the final development via a widened Peter’s Mill Lane. ARRA will be submitting formal objections to the local planning authority.
“Grave concerns, already raised by residents with Northumberland Estates, about the safety of the proposed junction between a widened Peter’s Mill Lane and Alnmouth Road have not been adequately addressed in the planning application documents.”
She said that there are errors of fact in the planning-application documents and added: “Twenty ARRA members gave up their time earlier this week, in freezing temperatures, to conduct a traffic survey on Alnmouth Road as an adequate survey is not reported in the planning application.
“Although understanding the status of the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan, residents question the need for any further new housing in light of the rapidly worsening economic situation, the impact on infrastructure and the current depressed housing market in Alnwick.
“ARRA also has concerns about wildlife and ecology. The development would remove a number of mature trees and hedgerows, yet the planning application claims that there will be an increase in biodiversity on this site.
“We find it hard to believe that species such as barn owl and brown hare – regularly seen in the summer months – will benefit from the new site.”