Reducing affordable homes is acceptable

Looking down towards the site of the proposed development on land north of Weetwood Road, Wooler. Picture by Jane Coltman
Looking down towards the site of the proposed development on land north of Weetwood Road, Wooler. Picture by Jane Coltman

A scheme for new housing and holiday lodges in Wooler is set to get the green light despite a significant reduction in the amount of affordable housing.

The outline application for residential development and 12 self-catering lodges is recommended for approval at Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s planning and performance committee.

The plans were originally submitted back in 2013 and in November that year were approved by committee subject to a section 106 legal agreement to deliver 30 per cent affordable homes.

However, the agreement was not signed ‘due to unavoidable circumstances which left the applicant without professional advice at that time’.

The application is being reported back to committee due to changes to the section 106 agreement; the applicant, Gerald Dickinson, is now seeking to reduce the affordable-housing contribution to 15 per cent.

The planning officer concludes that ‘as the proposal would accord with the emerging planning policy position, there is no reason to withhold planning permission on these grounds’.

The scheme sparked 12 letters of support and one objecting. Wooler Parish Council did not object, but highlighted concerns about access from Weetwood Road outside the village’s 30mph limit.