Proposals for a major development in a north Northumberland village which would drastically increase its size have been put forward.
Northumberland Estates is looking to develop a 28-hectare site to the north of Lesbury to include around 150 homes.
The scheme, which is the subject of a pre-application inquiry, could also deliver a bypass road between the A1068 and B1339, taking heavy traffic out of the village centre.
A pre-application inquiry is submitted to local authorities to get an early steer on whether a planning application could potentially be supported and if there are any issues which need to be ironed out.
In its inquiry, the Estates has also asked how the development should be phased, which it suggests would help ensure all the elements are delivered in ‘appropriate timescales’.
The document describes the proposals as a ‘unique opportunity to deliver a site which can secure all of the neighbourhood plan’s aspirations and objectives in a holistic and coordinated manner’.
Colin Barnes, of the Estates, said: “Lesbury is an area of high demand for a wide range of housing, including affordable and retirement living.
“The village is looking towards infrastructure, community and services improvements, and the new proposals would help to deliver all of these.
“The aim is for a long-term plan covering the next 10 to 15 years rather than small-scale developments, which would enable both housing and social requirements in the village to be better addressed.”
The indicative plan for the site shows around 150 homes, including 87 for sale on the open market, 34 self-build plots and 27 affordable homes, plus a local centre of around 1,000 sq m and open green space with walking routes totalling 5.75 hectares.
Setting out the case in the pre-application inquiry, reference is made to the above-average house prices in Lesbury, Hipsburn and Alnmouth which mean there is a lack of availability and affordability for local people.
Referring to the Lesbury Parish Plan from 2009 and the emerging neighbourhood plan, the Estates suggests that their proposals would help to deliver the objectives set out in these documents.
The submission states: ‘Northumberland Estates supports this vision and these objectives for Lesbury parish. However, it should be noted that these objectives are very ambitious and highly aspirational.
‘Many of these objectives can only be delivered by also allowing a substantial amount of development to come forward, given that it is development that unlocks these desired pieces of physical and community infrastructure.’
It continues: ‘It is considered that the proposed development meets every objective of the neighbourhood plan and presents a unique and significant opportunity to deliver these objectives and to meet the needs of Lesbury parish for the foreseeable long-term future.
‘The proposed development of approximately 150 dwellings means that a substantial number of developer contributions can be sought, rather than allowing piecemeal small-scale development that would contribute no affordable housing, no developer contributions and offer no planning gain to the community.’
The document adds: ‘Besides this, the proposed development presents the opportunity to secure the long-term future of Hipsburn Primary School by greatly adding to the number of children in attendance, where currently there is an under-supply of 34 places.
‘Similarly, the proposed development presents the opportunity to secure the long-term future of Alnmouth Railway Station, by providing additional consumers of the train services and increase demand for Newcastle-Edinburgh trains to stop at Alnmouth, something that is currently under threat due to lack of consumer demand in the area.’
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service