New homes in Blyth given approval

Plans for 27 affordable homes on a former allotments site in Blyth have been given the go-ahead despite traffic fears.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 8:00 am
The proposed site behind properties on Carlton Avenue and Newcastle Road in Blyth. Picture from Google
The proposed site behind properties on Carlton Avenue and Newcastle Road in Blyth. Picture from Google

The application, by The Imperator Group in partnership with Castles and Coasts Housing Association, is for a site where a scheme for 29 houses was turned down in 2007.

But the proposed development, on land south-west of 17 Carlton Avenue, off Newcastle Road, was recommended for approval when it went before Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee last month.

The scheme attracted objections from 22 residents as well as Blyth Town Council, alongside dozens of names on a petition, with one of the main concerns being highways issues – the narrow access, parking on Carlton Avenue and the amount of traffic already using the busy Newcastle Road.

The main access would be via Carlton Avenue where there is currently a private driveway between numbers 15 and 17. The council’s highways department said that the plans ‘are considered to be acceptable’ with conditions able to address any concerns.

In a statement read out at the meeting, Wendy Atkinson, on behalf of the residents of Carlton Avenue, Newcastle Road and the signatories of the petition, said: “We are not opposed to this development in its entirety.

“However, we are vehemently opposed to the proposed access route. Your own council judged this access road to be unsuitable in 2007 and conditions have worsened, not improved, since then.

“Alternative, safer, access options exist that would avoid the inevitable increase in accidents. The safety of all is precious and incalculable.”

The objectors were supported by the local ward member, Coun Deirdre Campbell, who said in her submission: “Residents have objected time and time again. It makes it difficult for the emergency services because it is a very busy road. I am asking you to listen to the residents that live there.”

But after a number of questions and some debate, the proposal was approved by five votes to three with three abstentions.

Coun Allan Hepple, who abstained, said: “I’m conflicted on this one, because on the one hand it’s all affordable housing, which is great, but on the other hand, Newcastle Road is very, very busy I have to say.

“I have a lot of sympathy with what the residents are saying about highway safety, so I am conflicted and I’m not sure I can support this one.”

Voting against, Coun Malcolm Robinson added: “Why on earth more work couldn’t have been put into access to and from this site, I don’t know, but I can just imagine the problems they’re going to have if we give the go-ahead on the junction with Newcastle Road.”

However, Coun Trevor Thorne, who voted for approval, said: “There are traffic concerns, but our highways officer has said that these new houses can be accommodated and aren’t going to lead to traffic congestion.”

The scheme will consist of eight two-bedroom bungalows in two different styles, 13 two-bedroom properties and six three-bedroom dwellings.

Approval is subject to an agreement to secure the properties as affordable homes and a £16,200 contribution to the council’s coastal mitigation scheme.