‘Surely the county is crying out for affordable homes?’

Jim Little at the site for his proposals in Christon Bank.
Jim Little at the site for his proposals in Christon Bank.

A north Northumberland man has hit out at the county’s planning department after his plans to provide four homes in his village were turned down.

At last Tuesday’s meeting of the north area planning committee, a scheme for three bungalows and a one-bedroom house on a site in Christon Bank were refused by four votes to two.

Jim Little says that one of the properties would be for family use while three would be let as affordable homes.

But north area development manager Peter Rutherford said that the council had no documentation which would guarantee the homes being available through a social housing provider in perpetuity.

He also criticised the design, describing it as ‘utlilitarian’, and the lack of space on the site.

Coun Anthony Murray was in favour of the application, pointing out that even two affordable homes in a small village ‘could be of great value’.

He added that there was support from three neighbours and the parish council, significant in a settlement of this size.

But Coun Trevor Thorne said: “Yes, they are affordable homes, but to let them, we have got to have amenity and space.”

After the meeting, Mr Little said: “The county’s shouting out for affordable homes and they are stopping it. The planning officer and housing officer contacted me about two years ago to see what we could do.

“It’s cost me £2,000. It’s money wasted and it’s money that comes off the homes.”