Setback for former school site in Newbiggin as developer backs out of housing plans

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Proposals to build 71 homes at the former site of a school in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea have been withdrawn by the developer.

A planning application had been submitted in 2016 for building 71 homes on the former Moorside First School site, on Woodhorn Road, but a decision had not been issued on whether the plans could proceed.

Northumberland County Council, which owns the land, had the 2.4 hectare site’s value reassessed in December 2023 and found the market price to be higher than its previous estimate.

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The housebuilder involved with the plans was Ascent Homes, which is part of council-owned development company Advance Northumberland. Ascent withdrew from the plans due to the higher cost of the site it would now have to meet.

Moorside First School was demolished years ago, but the site remains vacant. (Photo by Google)Moorside First School was demolished years ago, but the site remains vacant. (Photo by Google)
Moorside First School was demolished years ago, but the site remains vacant. (Photo by Google)

The proposals included a mix of two, three, and four bedroom homes, some of which were to be bungalows.

A Northumberland County Council spokesperson said: "The county council has been working with Ascent Homes to bring forward the former Moorside School site in Newbiggin for development.

“Unfortunately, it is no longer viable for Ascent Homes to proceed with the development as planned.

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“The county council will now be remarketing the site as soon as possible to secure residential development on this vacant land.”

Newbiggin by the Sea Town Council is calling for the site to remain marked for residential use and for work to be done to tidy up the site in the interim period before a buyer can be found.

Town councillor Alison Sutherland, chair of the town council, said: “While we understand the county council has a legal obligation to achieve market value for the site, this is very disappointing to our community.

“We have residents that need and want housing in our town, particularly bungalows, and they have been waiting a considerable time for this site to be developed.

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“The site has been left a derelict eyesore for years. We would like to see the site cleared and tidied by Northumberland County Council and hope that when it goes on the market that we see progress towards much needed new homes.”

The site is earmarked for new housing in the Northumberland Local Plan.