Village earmarked for affordable homes

DISCUSSIONS are taking place over a potential scheme to build 12 affordable homes in a small north Northumberland village.

The Gazette has learned that Rennington has been earmarked for a possible planning application comprising a number of bungalows, two-bed properties and three bedroom houses, on land north west of the village next to North Farm.

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “The scheme is currently at the pre-planning stage and discussions are taking place.”

She added: “In May 2008 a housing needs study was commissioned by Alnwick District Council. Rennington was one of the areas identified that had a need for affordable housing.

“Following this, Northumberland Estates came forward and offered this area of land to be used to build affordable housing.

“The scheme will be 100 per cent affordable housing, i.e. all 12 properties. The breakdown of four bungalows, four two-bedroom houses (starter homes) and four three-bedroom houses (family homes) has been chosen to suit the needs of the area, i.e. older people, young people and families.”

Members of Rennington Parish Council were told about the potential scheme at a meeting earlier this year.

Speaking last week, parish council chairman, Coun Keith Wilson said: “It is pure speculation as far as we are concerned. We have spoken to the housing officer but no detailed application has been made yet.”

He said that the 12 affordable homes allocated for the parish were much more than what was required by the housing needs survey – done a number of years ago.

Coun Wilson added that the parish council had been told that this quantity was based on the number of affordable houses that are required in Rennington and the coastal parishes, which Coun Wilson believed included the allocation for areas such as Embleton and Craster.

He said: “We would welcome more houses but we don’t want to see it go for holiday accommodation. We welcome any additional properties to the area because it might improve our council access to sustainable services like a bus service and a shop and so on.

“We think the parish would benefit from more houses but are concerned that the capacity of 12 affordable houses far exceeds the requirements in our parish, so it might be that people are coming in from anywhere in Northumberland.”