Plans for 270 homes before councillors for a decision

An artist's impression of the type of housing being proposed.
An artist's impression of the type of housing being proposed.

Plans for a total of 270 new homes in Alnwick are recommended for approval next week, despite a conflict with the neighbourhood plan.

The hybrid application by the Northumberland Estates, for land at Windy Edge off the Alnmouth Road, goes before Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee on Tuesday (September 4).

The bid is split into full plans for 81 homes plus a temporary construction access from Denwick Lane and an outline scheme for a further 189 houses. The permanent entrance would be an upgraded access from Alnmouth Road onto Peters Mill Lane.

This area represents one the few remaining undeveloped sites that is allocated for residential development in the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan, although there are brownfield sites such as the vacant former high-school site.

However, Alnwick Town Council has objected to the proposal as it strays from the site boundary proposed in the neighbourhood plan, which means that the ‘significant buffer’ in the south-east corner from existing homes is not provided.

The planning officer’s report explains that this ‘has meant that the more prominent land can be left as open fields which is supported in terms of the wider visual and heritage impact’.

In his conclusion, he adds that while the application proposes a departure from the neighbourhood plan, it ‘would not give rise to a substantive impact to adversely affect the proposal’.

The town council also has a number of concerns about road safety and routes for pedestrians and cyclists, while the scheme has sparked 45 objections, including from the Alnmouth Road Residents’ Association.

The report to councillors says that there are highway improvements required to benefit road and pedestrian safety and these will be secured as part of any planning permission.

These include a traffic-calming feature on Alnmouth Road and upgraded rights of way connecting Alnmouth Road, Fisher Lane, Allerburn Lea and Denwick Lane.

If approved, the Estates will also have to provide 40 affordable homes on site (12 full, 28 outline) and make contributions of £162,000 for coastal mitigation, £673,200 for education, as the Duchess’s Community High School is at capacity, and £186,300 to support GP services.

The 81 homes would consist of seven two-bedroom (five affordable); 37 three-bedroom (seven affordable); 31 four-bedroom; and six five-bedroom.

The split for the overall 270 would be 40 two-bedroom (21 affordable); 102 three-bedroom (19 affordable); 116 four-bedroom; 12 five-bedroom.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service