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Rejection on the cards for new homes in seaside village

The proposed development site in Seahouses. Picture from Google
The proposed development site in Seahouses. Picture from Google

Councillors could put an end to a long-running bid to build new homes on the north Northumberland coast this week.

The application, for land east of King’s Field in Seahouses, was updated in August to propose 32 principal occupancy houses, all of which would be affordable.

The proposal is for 11 two-bedroom bungalows, 10 three-bedroom homes and 11 four-bedroom houses.

However, the scheme is recommended for refusal when it goes before the North Northumberland Local Area Council on Thursday, due to the development being outside the settlement boundary and within the coastal strip as well as a lack of information about contaminated land.

Last month’s changes meant that all of the properties, on the seaward side of the housing development often described as a ‘ghost estate’ due to the high number of second homes, would have to be lived in full-time by local people in housing need.

But the scheme has attracted 50 objections from residents and North Sunderland Parish Council has also expressed its opposition.

As well as issues relating to the settlement boundary, the size of the development and traffic, the parish council disagrees that ‘large three and four-bed dwellings are affordable’.

It adds that they would be ‘unattainable for many residents on low and seasonal wages and there is a need for genuinely affordable dwellings for purchase or rent’.

The latest changes appeared to be a response to the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan, which passed referendum in May before being formally ‘made’ by the county council in July.

The well-publicised policy 14 states that all new housing will only be supported if it is restricted in perpetuity for principal residency.

The application site also falls outside the Seahouses settlement boundary, as defined in the neighbourhood plan.

However, policy nine does allow for exceptions, including for 100 per cent affordable housing provision, but only where it doesn’t have ‘a negative impact on sensitive settlement edges’.

This bid is also considered to be a breach of policy four, which limits development on the coastal strip, as defined by the plan.

The prospect of development has been hanging over this site for more than five years.

In March 2013, Northumbrian Leisure Ltd applied for outline permission to build 88 houses and a health village.

This was amended in December that year and again in December 2014, with the health village removed and the number of homes slightly reduced. This application has still yet to be decided.

Then, in March last year, full planning permission was sought for 39 homes, which was updated in November so that there would six affordable bungalows and 19 of the homes would be restricted to prime occupancy.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service