At the public consultation event to unveil the proposals for 500 new homes in Amble, we asked those attending the session what they thought.
Dicky Purvis: “I’m all in agreement with some development in Amble, but we haven’t got the infrastructure. The one-way system in the town centre is not conducive to all the traffic. We haven’t got a supermarket and that’s one of the bugbears.”
Martin Horn: “I would like the development to have access to the A1068 because of the traffic problems on Acklington Road.
“Also, I would like to see the section-106 money spent in Amble.”
Michael Walters: “I’m concerned about the junction at the Masons Arms, which is bad to start with and needs upgrading – I have been complaining for 18 months.
“I’m against it anyway because you cannot get an appointment at the health centre as it is. If you have another 1,500 people, it will be even worse. The parking down the bottom end of town isn’t adequate either.”
Craig van Bedaf, architect: “We’re promoting a high-quality, low-density scheme with a substantial amount of open woodland and walks promoting activity and vibrancy. We see it as a logical and positive contribution to the settlement of Amble.”
Julia Aston, Amble Development Trust: “We are happy to support any development that improves Amble, but, like a lot of residents have said, we have got to make sure the infrastructure is in place to support it. It could be a catalyst for bringing more industry and jobs into the town.”
David Muirhead: “It’s a total joke. Whichever way you look at it, there’s no positives. There’s no jobs, no supermarket, nothing.
“I just cannot see any pluses. If you put a big estate next to a school, what are you going to get? Accidents.
“Will they listen? I don’t think so. I certainly hope there’s going to be more debate after this.”
Nancy Rudd: “The access from Acklington Road will be dreadful. When they built the other houses, they put in a roundabout and it’s feasible.
“Unless you build the infrastructure first, you shouldn’t build the houses. I’m not saying don’t build houses, people need them, but you have got to have the infrastructure first.”
The planned development falls into the Amble West with Warkworth ward of county councillor, Jeff Watson, who is also an Amble town councillor. He said: “I’m a realist and I know that the Northumberland County Council strategic plan has shown this area for development for some time so I wasn’t surprised when it was announced, but I was surprised by the number.
“Amble is growing in popularity and demand for housing is increasing so I’m not against new development in Amble, however, I do have two major concerns.
“The first is Acklington Road and I have asked the developers to consider seriously a road in from a new roundabout on the A1068 at the southern end of Amble. If they can solve the road to the A1068, they will have a lot less opposition from residents.
“The second issue is infrastructure – doctors, dentists, the supermarket which doesn’t exist, etc.”
Amble’s other county councillor, Robert Arckless, said: “My first reaction is that it’s a very big development – although it would be phased if it had approval – and there are significant issues about infrastructure and community benefit.
“There were a number of councillors who met the developers and there are concerns about the access onto the site. I picked up from members of the public concerns about the impact on local services – the health centre, the schools, etc.
“I welcome the fact they had done a consultation and hope some of the points that were made are considered carefully.
“We’re in a very, very difficult position, because we have a Government which has changed planning guidance to say there’s a presumption in favour of development and the county council is saying that Amble could have 600 homes over the plan period, which is the next 15 years, but that is a guide, not a definitive figure.
“For me, they would need to prove the need for the development and the other issue is affordable housing, what they mean by affordable and what sort of tenure it would be.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and I hope the folk behind this development do listen to the points that have been made.”