Green light for 12-bed supported living unit in Bedlington

Plans for 12 self-contained one-bedroom apartments on a vacant plot on Front Street in Bedlington have been approved.Plans for 12 self-contained one-bedroom apartments on a vacant plot on Front Street in Bedlington have been approved.
Plans for 12 self-contained one-bedroom apartments on a vacant plot on Front Street in Bedlington have been approved.
Plans for a new site to provide homes for people with additional needs in the heart of a Northumberland town have been given the green light by councillors.

The proposals will see a new building consisting of 12 self-contained one-bedroom apartments built on a vacant plot on Front Street in Bedlington.

The application was approved by members of Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Council.

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Despite no objections being received from local residents, Coun Adam Hogg of West Bedlington Town Council spoke at the meeting and outlined the council’s objections to the plan.

He raised concerns about highways safety and was concerned vehicles parking at the front of the site could impede traffic and emergency vehicles on Front Street.

He said: “The parking provided is totally inadequate for the proposed building. It is woefully inadequate – just four spaces outdoors and three underneath for 12 apartments plus support staff.

“The size of the building is considerable and there could be a loss of privacy, properties to the rear could suffer a loss of light and could be overlooked. Quite simply put, this is the wrong development for the location.”

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The applicant, Thomas Foster, spoke in support of the application. It was pointed out that a development with 11 apartments on the same site has already been approved, and the current application does not increase the size of the building previously given permission.

He said: “Those concerns have been addressed by officers. Highways have confirmed parking is adequate. Regarding the size and shape, it hasn’t been increased on what was previously approved.

“There is demand for this type of development in this type of location – there are over 3,000 vulnerable adults in the county, predominantly in the south east, requiring this type of accommodation. Future demand is expected to rise 1.8 per cent annually.

“This development will provide high-quality accommodation for the most vulnerable in society, providing them a path for independent living.”

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Coun Barry Flux proposed the committee approve the application, but Coun Malcolm Robinson, who represents Bedlington West on Northumberland County Council, voted against the application.

He said: “It’s well saying that members in Cramlington have proposed this, because they don’t know this area.

“It is a pinch point and it’s chocker-block with parking. They can just about get a bus through that stretch of road, but there’s no two-way traffic. There’s absolutely zero chance of parking on the street if you want to keep cars moving.

“This is a laudable idea but it’s the wrong place, absolutely the wrong place. I work with disabled people, I know how many taxis come for them. You’re not going to get them on that site.”

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But Coun David Ferguson argued: “Traffic concerns aren’t going to change regardless of what is built on that site. I don’t get the impression that this is going to create any more traffic than any other proposal for that site.

“This is a really good idea. We want to encourage brownfield development. There is already permission for 11 apartments.”

The application was approved despite Coun Robinson’s objections.

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