HOUSING: Only build houses where they are really needed

A plan of the proposed new estate at Grange Road in Shilbottle.
A plan of the proposed new estate at Grange Road in Shilbottle.

Residents of Northumberland are facing a quickening avalanche of planning requests from developers, of whom Northumberland Estates is the most prominent, seeking to further its commercial interests by gaining planning permission to build houses in advance of agreement on the county-wide strategy for planning currently under review.

Local people, including those in Warkworth, Longhorsley and Shilbottle are finding their views ignored.

Developers are seeking to build, often in places where the need has not been proved and in numbers that will radically change the nature of the village or town and that will place pressures on existing infrastructures.

Because large numbers of homes are already for sale in these places, new homes are likely to become holiday lets, owned by people from outside the area.

Yes, tourism is a vital income generator, but homes for local people often on low incomes should be a priority.

The University of the West of England recently produced a report showing that almost one million homes throughout the country could be built on existing brownfield sites.

Ukip policy is to prioritise and encourage brownfield site development rather than permitting more encroachment onto the green belt.

We will abolish stamp duty on the first sale of a home on this type of development and assist developers with finance through Government Bonds to clear and decontaminate industrial sites.

More importantly, we will redress the balance between developer and local people by empowering residents through the use of binding referendums to enable the overturning of unpopular planning decisions.

Yes, we do need some new development, but the only development that should take place is that for which a need can be proved and which is accepted by local people.

Most importantly, any development must protect the identity of our communities.