Date set for fate of controversial 186 home outline planning application on Ashington outskirts to be decided by councillors
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The Banks Group’s outline application for up to 186 new homes west of Wansbeck Road will come before the council’s Strategic Planning Committee on Tuesday, December 5.
125 residents submitted formal objections to the proposal, while 31 submitted supportive comments.
An earlier petition opposing the development attracted 446 signatures, and Ashington Town Council voted to object to the plans after a meeting in February was packed out with activists.
Concerns raised include that the site, near Ashington Academy, is outside Ashington’s settlement boundary and so contradicts local planning policy, that it will increase the burden on local services, and that it will damage the local environment, particularly the pond on the site.
Tony Dodds, the chairperson of the campaign against the development, said: “There is no change in most people’s attitudes to the scheme since it was first mooted.
“It is widely unpopular for valid reasons. There will be five plus years of construction disturbance on roads not safe for more traffic, the effect on the pond, no need for new housing, it is contrary to the council's own local plan, no real benefits from the scheme. I could go on.
“We will continue to fight the project. Hopefully the officers will recommend refusal and councillors will refuse consent.
“Residents will be attending in numbers on the fifth.”
But Jamilah Hassan, community relations manager at The Banks Group, said the site was “wholly suitable” and the development would bring “a wide range” of benefits to the area, adding that local people had already expressed interest in buying property at the site.
She said: “Everyone deserves the opportunity to own their own home, but if we fail to build enough new homes to meet market demand on suitable sites like Wansbeck Road, prices simply rise and home ownership becomes unaffordable for a greater proportion of young local families.
“With services on the Northumberland Line commencing next year we believe this is a logical location for this type of sustainable development, and we are looking forward to making a compelling case for the approval of this much-needed high-quality scheme before Northumberland County Council’s planning committee in December.”