Northumberland housing bid back before councillors, but approved once more

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Plans for new homes in a north Northumberland village have been approved again after the application went back before councillors last week.

A proposal for 13 new homes on land north of Horsley Place, in Christon Bank, was first given the nod in November last year, despite a number of local concerns.

It was one of a series of previously-approved schemes to go back before the North Northumberland Local Council for another decision last Thursday (November 22).

In each case, the permissions had not been finally signed off due to various issues to iron out, often the completion of a section 106 legal agreement.

In the meantime, the Government published its updated and refreshed planning rulebook – the NPPF – in the summer and so the proposals were reassessed in light of this new advice.

This time round, Coun Wendy Pattison first moved refusal on sustainability grounds as there’s no employment or bus service in Christon Bank, but this fell by five votes to two, with two abstentions.

A subsequent motion to approve the application was passed by five votes to one, with three abstentions.

Earlier in the meeting, Coun Terry Howells, chairman of Embleton Parish Council, acknowledged that previous amendments to the scheme had improved it, but still raised a number of points.

He said that the parish council would prefer affordable homes for social rent or, failing that, two-bedroom starter homes for discounted sale and called for a permanent-residence restriction for the properties, in line with the emerging neighbourhood plan for the parish.

He added that he was surprised that Northumbrian Water had so few comments to make given that the village ‘has suffered very badly in the past’ with flooding and sewerage issues.

Planning permission is subject to a section 106 legal agreement to secure two on-site discount market value homes and £17,600 for education.

This is for the Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick, due to the pressure on secondary places, and Coun Anthony Murray raised the point that this meant a rural primary school – in this case at Embleton – was missing out.

But the chairman, Coun Trevor Thorne, explained that this was because there was space to accommodate extra pupils at Vincent Edward’s and added that new homes would bring new pupils and therefore funding to support the school.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service