Objection builds over amended homes plan

A digger at work on the site of the proposed development near King's Field. Picture by Mike Hosken
A digger at work on the site of the proposed development near King's Field. Picture by Mike Hosken

Opposition is mounting against an amended housing scheme in Seahouses, with the applicant accused of jumping on the affordable housing bandwagon.

Last week, we reported that Northumbrian Leisure Ltd’s long-running plan to build homes on land east of King’s Field had taken another turn, after it was tweaked again.

The new version proposes 32 principal occupancy houses, all of which would be affordable. This should mean that all of the properties would be lived in full-time by local people in housing need.

The proposal is for 11 two-bedroom bungalows, 10 three-bedroom homes and 11 four-bedroom houses.

The latest changes appear to be a response to the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan, which passed referendum and was adopted in the summer.

The neighbourhood plan states that all new housing will only be supported if it is restricted in perpetuity for principal residency.

The application site also falls outside the Seahouses settlement boundary, as defined in the neighbourhood plan.

However, policy nine does allow for exceptions, including, as in this case, for 100 per cent affordable housing provision, although only where it doesn’t have ‘a negative impact on sensitive settlement edges’.

The amended scheme has already attracted negative comments, with a string of resident objections on the county council’s planning portal, while North Sunderland Parish Council has also voiced its disapproval. Critics say that the development is outside the neighbourhood boundary, which was put in place to ‘prevent urban sprawl’; the development is too large; and that the applicant feels that it has does enough, simply by providing affordable housing, which one objector describes as the ‘buzz word at present’.

The parish council also disagrees that ‘large three and four-bed dwellings are affordable’, adding that they would be ‘unattainable for many residents on low and seasonal wages and there is a need for genuinely affordable dwellings for purchase or rent’.

The prospect of development has been hanging over this site for more than five years, in different guises.