More than £500,000 promised to improve education and healthcare in Bedlington - but MP fears more cash will be needed
House builders are set to hand over more than £500,000 to boost education, healthcare and infrastructure in Bedlington.
Work on the second phase on Miller Homes’s Longridge Farm development is due to add an extra 166 properties to the town.
And following negotiations with Northumberland County Council, this is due to come with the added sweetener of extra cash for vital services.
But the huge building programme has also prompted concerns that even more money could be needed to ensure the new families moving in will have everything they need.
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“Whilst any investment in infrastructure is to be welcomed, Bedlington has been growing at pace for a long time now and facilities simply have not kept up,” said Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery, who has urged government ministers to visit his constituency to see the scale of work needed with their own eyes.
"The town centre site is in desperate need of attention and with the retail sector struggling, will need a significant financial boost to make it work.
“For years, people in Bedlington have been asking for a leisure facility and I firmly believe now is the time to develop something people can be proud of that celebrates the town’s rich history.
"In the past few weeks I have spoken to and visited a number of sports clubs based in Bedlington who are doing a fantastic job and would thrive with the right investment in facilities.
"With the financial backing of the local authority and the support of the community, there is no reason why a leisure facility cannot be developed.
“Levelling up must also mean giving people access to decent leisure facilities so they can maintain their wellbeing and good health.”
Under the terms of an S106 agreement between the county council and Miller Homes, the developer is due to make an education contribution worth almost £350,000 towards the provision of primary and special education needs educational facilities in Bedlington.
Other planned payouts include:
• £60,000 for improved sports facilities at Gallagher Park and elsewhere within the county’s Bedlington Central, Bedlington East and Bedlington West council wards
• £90,000 to provide or improve provision of healthcare in Bedlington, Bedlington Station and Guidepost
• £25,000 to promote public transport
The development, in Choppington Road, is made up of a mixture of two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom homes.
More than 60% of properties making up the first phase of the scheme are understood to have been sold so far, while a further 166 due to be added to the market during the subsequent stage.
Aisling Ramshaw, sales director at Miller Homes, said: “We have already started to contribute towards building a strong community for Bedlington locals during phase one of construction and we’re excited to improve on our work with these significant contributions that will work towards creating an established and promising environment for residents who currently live here or are looking to relocate to the area.
“It’s important to us that we can continue to work with the local council to scope out the areas that need the most help.
"Bedlington is a thriving and up-and-coming community and we hope that the people of the North East identify it as a top choice when it comes to choosing a place to call home.”