Plans for 160-home development in Widdrington Station to be debated

A bid for more than 150 new homes in a Northumberland village could get the go-ahead next week.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 1:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 6:24 pm
The site in Widdrington Station where 160 homes are recommended for approval. Picture c/o Google Maps

Detailed plans for 160 two, three and four-bedroom houses in Widdrington Station – on a site which has outline permission for around 40 fewer – are recommended for approval at Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee meeting on Tuesday February 4.

The scheme by Gleeson Homes, on a 5.6-hectare site west of Grange Road and south of Grangemoor Road, would included the diversion of an existing public footpath to an alternative route.

Bordered by homes to the north and east, with Grange View First School and the village’s community centre to the south, the land receive outline consent for up to 121 homes in February 2017.

When first lodged back in January last year, the full application was for 179 homes, but it has subsequently been reduced to 160.

A total of 27 of the properties would be affordable (17%) – 16 for sale at discount market value and 11 for social rent.

However, the council’s affordable housing team does not support the application as it stands, given that the ‘site does not provide the most appropriate units’.

The advice is that the rented units should ‘suit the evidence’ and it is recommended that four two-bedroom bungalows, four two-bedroom houses and three three-bedroom homes be provided.

Widdrington Station and Stobswood Parish Council did not formally object to the proposals but did make comments on a number of issues, including that ‘some single-storey accommodation would have been welcomed especially as the siting of two-storey dwellings was considered by some would infringe on the privacy currently enjoyed by residents’.

Other concerns, as raised by 16 objectors, included over-development of the site, an increase in traffic and road-safety issues, additional pressure on existing community facilities, and drainage and flooding issues.

The report to councillors states that the is ‘no need for any further significant housing development in south-east Northumberland’.

However, the planning officer continues: ‘The applicant has reduced the number of additional dwellings originally proposed and worked closely with NCC to ensure a high standard of residential development design. Due to this, in this instance, an increased number of residential dwellings is acceptable.’

He also concludes that ‘the proposal is deemed to have no adverse impact on landscape, residential amenity, public safety, highway safety, ecology and flood risk management.’

Planning permission would be subject to a section 106 legal agreement to secure £99,000 for education, £99,000 for healthcare, a £23,400 ecological contribution for the council’s coastal mitigation scheme, £70,000 for the village community centre, as well as the affordable housing.