Development of 30 homes back for another decision

A development of 30 new homes to the south of Berwick, which was first given the go-ahead last summer, is back before councillors this week.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 08:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 14:09 pm
Coun Georgina Hill, who called on the developer to contribute something to local schools when the scheme was approved in June last year.

The application, for a site between East Ord and Tweedmouth, was backed by 10 votes to zero, with one abstention, at the June 2018 meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council.

The bid has returned because the county council has taken the decision that where applications have been approved but the permissions not finally signed off, they should be reassessed in light of the Government’s updated planning rulebook, published last July.

In this case, it had not been fully approved as there were issues to resolve in relation to drainage, but at Thursday’s (January 24) meeting of the committee, members are again recommended to approve the application, with the addition of further conditions to deal with surface-water issues.

The scheme, on land west of Greenwood, off Cornhill Road, proposes four semi-detached, two-bedroom homes; 12 semi-detached, two-bedroom bungalows; six detached, three-bedroom houses; six semi-detached, three-bedroom properties; and two detached, four-bedroom dwellings.

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The site is directly adjacent to land where 30 homes were approved on appeal after being refused by the county council.

Ord Parish Council had objected to the bid due to its proximity to Simpson’s Malt and Tweedside Trading Estate, and additional pressure on over-subscribed first schools and GP surgeries.

The county council’s housing team requested 15 per cent affordable housing to be provided on-site, while contributions of £39,600 for education (Tweedmouth West First School is 94 per cent full) and £15,600 for GP facilities were also sought.

However, none of this was required as part of the approval, because ‘the application has been independently assessed in terms of viability which has concluded that the imposition of planning obligations would render the scheme unviable’.

At last June’s meeting, Coun Trevor Thorne said: “It’s already been more or less decided for us given that the other site was approved on appeal.

“It’s a shame that although we are delivering the houses, we are not delivering anything with it.”

Coun Georgina Hill added: “We do need this type of housing. But I know how tight the school budgets are and even £5,000 would be a big help if the developer could do it out of the goodness of their heart.”

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service