No change when plans went back to committee

Part of the site in Choppington where permission has been granted for more than 300 new homes.
Part of the site in Choppington where permission has been granted for more than 300 new homes.

Three schemes for hundreds of new homes in south-east Northumberland went back before councillors last week following the withdrawal of the county’s core strategy.

But it didn’t make a difference to the outcome as all three of the previously-approved bids – for Ashington, Bedlington and Choppington – were once again given the green light.

In each case, the approval had not been signed off due to outstanding issues and as the policies in the core strategy, which the new Conservative administration withdrew in July, were key in the initial decisions, the applications went back before last Tuesday’s meeting of the county council’s strategic planning committee.

Full plans for 327 homes on land at Willow Burn, Whinney Hill Farm Cottages, on the southern edge of Guide Post and north of Choppington, by Dysart Developments Ltd and Arch, were first approved in March despite objections.
At last week’s meeting, an objector raised concerns about the pressures on school places and GPs as well as the likelihood of increased traffic issues.
Members heard that while there were issues with school places in the area, they were going to be tackled by financial contributions from other approved schemes in the area, not least due to the viability issues on this development, which also mean no affordable homes will be provided.
It was approved by 11 votes to zero with one abstention.
In April,
the go-ahead was given for two outline bids by Persimmon Homes for a total of 800 new homes on adjacent sites in Ashington.
Plans for up to 600 homes, on land between Wansbeck General Hospital and the A189 Spine Road did not return to the committee, but the scheme for up to 200 homes, to the east of North Seaton, off Summerhouse Lane, did and was approved this time by 11 votes to two.
Finally, in June,
another outline application, for up to 500 new homes in Bedlington, was given the green light at the same time as the overhaul of the town centre.

Last week, despite town-council concerns on ground conditions and infrastructure, it was unanimously approved.