Town 'up in arms' against Duke's proposed development

Residents of a Northumberland seaside town are up in arms about a potential development that would see an access road cutting straight through a popular area of green space.

By James Robinson
Friday, 29th April 2022, 3:52 pm
Save Our Braid banners.
Save Our Braid banners.

Northumberland Estates, the Duke of Northumberland’s property arm, has submitted plans to build 48 supported living apartments, 35 residental apartments and ten homes on land north east of the Riverside Park in Amble.

However, the development would require an access road across The Braid, a popular piece of greenfield land used by dog walkers and for community events such as fireworks displays.

Because of this, the development has attracted significant criticism from locals – a campaign group, Save Our Braid, has been formed to organise opposition to the proposals.

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Group member Terry Barton explained why there was so much opposition in the town.

He said: “There are hundreds of people against it, but Northumberland Estates have tried to keep it quiet. We have spoken to people and half of Amble didn’t know about it.

“The only way to find out about it is on the internet, which is ageist. People over 60 don’t always have the internet.

“A lot of people are really really angry and annoyed about it. The Braid was given to the public by Alnwick District Council about 50 years ago, and it is used for recreation – lots of dog walkers use it.

“It is the village green and one of the few open green spaces let in Amble. Virtually everyone we’ve spoken to is against it.”

Mr Barton added that he had asked Northumberland Estates why it had not held a public consultation event in the area, but was told it was due to concerns over Covid-19.

He added: “I would say they’re trying to do it by stealth. They’re trying to get it through with little fuss, but now half of Amble is up in arms about it.”

Northumberland Estates did create a website for the development, which included a section where users could express their views on the proposals. It has also now submitted a planning application to Northumberland County Council, which has received 78 objections and one comment in support.

A planning notice was also placed in the Northumberland Gazette.

Guy Munden, development planner at Northumberland Estate said: “Plans to create a ‘lifetime neighbourhood’ in Amble are rooted in the need to provide more high-quality homes for people, particularly in later life, which allow people to thrive within a community that meets their needs in terms of location, care and availability of services.

“Our proposals are intended to meet that much-needed housing requirement, but also include extensive green infrastructure, landscaping and usable open green space. The proposed access road, which affects only a small area of the Braid, includes low traffic flows and non-intrusive street lighting and will have significantly less impact than the previous road designed to serve a proposed supermarket.

“From the outset, we have been fully committed to a wide-ranging public consultation process, including meeting the Town Council. The consultation website was launched in February and the accompanying press release was featured in The Ambler and the Northumberland Gazette. Amble Town Council and Warkworth Parish Council were also provided with full details.

“Feedback supports Northumberland County Council’s assessment that there is a need for this type of development in the region, showing significant support for housing aimed at older residents and new housing in Amble. We can reassure residents that the homes would be prioritised for long term residents and to meet local needs.”