Highcliffe and Horsdonside schemes top BBH list of priorities

Four Housing Group CEO Paul Tanney.

Four Housing Group CEO Paul Tanney.

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BERWICK Borough Housing has outlined hopes of building a further 56 affordable homes in north Northumberland over the next three years.

It has identified potential sites in Berwick town centre and Highcliffe and is in talks with developers over both, while it is also planning to redevelop the Horsdonside sheltered housing unit in Wooler.

Paul Tanney, chief executive of Berwick Borough Housing, said: “Plans for the Highcliffe site are progressing the quickest. We’re working with the developer there, Lomond Homes, to try and provide 40 units.

“We’re having some difficulties with the Berwick town centre site but we’re still trying to work through them and in due course Horsdonside will become available for redevelopment.”

It is currently undertaking a housing needs study of the Glendale area to ascertain what type of housing would be most suitable for the Horsdonside site.

Coun Anthony Murray, member for Wooler, called for the Horsdonside scheme to start as soon as possible.

He said: “In my view there is a clear need for affordable homes in the Glendale area and I hope the housing needs survey bears that out. It’s very important that the Horsdonside redevelopment comes sooner rather than later.”

Mr Tanney responded: “There are still people living at Horsdonside which will obviously influence the timescale, and then there is the availability of funding to consider but we are very clear that we want to put quality homes which are appropriate for Glendale on that site.”

Since it took over Berwick Borough Council’s housing stock in 2008, Berwick Borough Housing has built 21 affordable homes at Ladywell in Tweedmouth, 13 in Beadnell, four on Holy Island and nine shared ownership units in Seahouses.

But Coun John Taylor, chairman of the north area planning committee, raised concerns at the move by some developers to reduce the affordable housing element of their schemes to make them more economically viable.

He said: “Berwick has a huge backlog of applications that have been approved but there is very little in the way of affordable housing within those schemes. Some developers are now holding back and then coming to us saying they need to reduce the number of affordable units which is disappointing.”

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