Plans for new affordable homes in Stakeford recommended for approval despite objections

A housing association’s proposal to build 32 new affordable homes in Stakeford has been recommended for planning approval by council planners.
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Consent had been sought to build the properties and their associated infrastructure on a greenfield site just south of Stakeford Crescent, which is technically outside the Stakeford settlement boundary.

The plans, for Ashington-based housing association Bernicia, feature 17 two-bed, 13 three-bed, and two four-bed homes, 12 of which will be bungalows and all of which will have an electric vehicle charging point.

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The approval recommendation from council planners comes despite 40 objections to the application from members of the public, citing traffic and road access concerns as well as the loss of open space and impact on wildlife.

The proposed entrance point to the new development from Stakeford Crescent. (Photo by Google)The proposed entrance point to the new development from Stakeford Crescent. (Photo by Google)
The proposed entrance point to the new development from Stakeford Crescent. (Photo by Google)

In their report, council planners said: “It is clear from the evidence provided by the applicant, and internal discussions with the housing enablers team, that there is an identified need for affordable housing within the settlement of Stakeford and that the provision of 32 affordable homes will assist in addressing this need.”

Northumberland planning policy includes provision for housing on small sites that are not designated as such, provided they are affordable starter homes.

The report added: “The local planning authority considers the proposed development to represent good design.

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“The applicant has given careful consideration to the character of the settlement of Stakeford and design cues have been taken from existing properties that would ensure the site relates well to the area and does not appear as an incongruous addition.”

Responding to concerns about road access, the report said: “Subject to conditions recommended by the local authority’s highways and rights of way team, the local planning authority considers that concerns in relation to highway safety have been addressed by the applicant through the submission of further information.”

Other conditions on planning permission have been suggested, including an agreement for the developer to contribute £19,680 to coastal mitigation, £20,400 local healthcare, £96,000 to education and £20,968 to open space.

The application had initially been expected to be determined by council officers, but will now be decided on by councillors at a Castle Morpeth Local Area Planning Committee meeting on Monday, March 11 after a councillor requested it was voted on instead.