Phased scheme at Spittal Point gets green light
Changes to a long-awaited development in Berwick have been given the go-ahead, despite the concerns of the local councillor.
An application by Royal Carlton Estates, owned by Berwick businessman William Leith, to build 136 homes and commercial space at Spittal Point, was first lodged almost a decade ago and the planning permission signed off in 2014 has a condition that the development starts within five years.
As with any planning approval, there were a number of other conditions attached and a bid to alter 11 of them – related to the likes of surface water, archaeology, bus-stop improvements and works to North Greenwich Road – so that the development can be phased was unanimously approved by Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee.
The proposed changes did not spark any objections, but Coun Georgina Hill, who represents Berwick East, called in the application ‘due to significant public interest in the site and potential for meaningful regeneration’.
At the meeting, she expressed concerns that the proposed phasing might mean that it would end up not as a mixed development, but just residential.
Explaining that there was a need for jobs and a stimulus for the economy in the area too, Coun Hill said: “It would be a great pity if this was just housing, it would be a huge opportunity missed.”
However, committee members were reassured that they were simply being asked to approve a variation to the conditions and that the original scheme – and section 106 obligations, including 27 homes for affordable rent – remained the same.
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However, moving approval, Coun Trevor Thorne said: “I have sympathy with Coun Hill, but the planning application is what it is and we are only being asked to vary the conditions.”
Coun Barry Flux added: “It’s a beautiful area and the area needs investment. I think this is a good application and I will support it, I would like to see progress.”
Coun Jeff Reid said: “What worries me – and this is a 10-year-old plan – is I hope they are going to use sea-grade materials. If they’re not going to use top-grade materials, it will look absolutely terrible in five years’ time.”
Coun Bernard Pidcock said: “My apologies because I live 50 or 60 miles away, but I’m really not sure why you dragged me from my lovely home on a lovely evening to deal with this.”
Local Democracy Reporter