Affordable homes may be cut at key housing site

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

The developer building homes at a key site in Morpeth wants to change the legal agreement so that it provides no further affordable housing.

In March 2015, a scheme for up to 375 properties, of which 30 per cent would be affordable, on the former St George’s Hospital site, was approved by Northumberland County Council.

The development is phased and the proportion of affordable housing required by the section 106 legal agreement has been provided in phase A, which features 119 homes in total.

But now, a bid has been submitted by WYG, on behalf of Galliford Try, to remove the affordable-housing element from phases B and C, for 115 and 141 homes respectively.

The variation application states that ‘due to a variety of technical constraints and abnormal costs on the site, the remaining phases are not viable on based on the current S106 commitments.’

An objection from Morpeth Town Council simply says that it ‘is contradictory to policy Hou4, delivery of affordable housing, in the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan. Also, a housing needs assessment has not been seen’.

Resident Dr Carol Routledge also refers to the neighbourhood plan, adding: ‘Evidence from family, friends and neighbours demonstrates that the requirement for affordable housing in Morpeth clearly outstrips supply.’

This development was followed last year by an outline application for up to 875 homes on the remainder of the St George’s site, which was approved by the council in December, although permission is yet to be signed off.