400 homes planned for old colliery site

A major development plan has been submitted that could see 400 houses built in a Northumberland village.

Harworth Estates has put forward the proposal for the former Ellington Colliery site as it seeks outline planning permission.

The development would also include small-scale retail provision, improvements to Ellington Business Centre, a heritage park and play areas.

In addition, a full planning application has been submitted to provide two full-size pitches and a mini-soccer pitch for Ellington Juniors FC, with potential for a clubhouse.

The application states: “Overall, the delivery of new, contemporary housing, designed to a high standard, along with the associated retail, business and play facilities will lift the status and quality of the village, sustain existing services and attract new people to the area who can contribute further to the community and the local economy.”

The colliery site has been vacant since the pit closed in 2005.

Full details of the proposed development would follow if the outline application is granted, but Harworth Estates says the housing will vary in size and tenure, and could include bungalows.

However, it states that a viability assessment demonstrates that the scheme cannot accommodate affordable housing and all properties would be sold on the open market.

A previous master plan envisaged 300 houses for the site, but the applicant says it has had to review the scheme to ensure a viable development.

It says the provision of a retail unit would improve local shopping facilities and generate jobs, there would be new footpaths and cycle routes, and a ‘green corridor’ to the Ellington Miners’ Memorial, which would become a focal point.

The heritage park would be a central open space, with interpretation boards providing a history of the colliery, and a children’s play area could include equipment to reflect the mining heritage, with wheels, cranes and wagons.

Access to the estate would be off Lynemouth Road.

Villagers raised concerns about the proposal at consultation events this summer and of 64 people who returned comment forms, 34.4 per cent were against the plans, 18.8 per cent were in favour and 46.9 per cent did not give a view.

Objections related to the impact on highways’ capacity, public transport provision, school and health service capacity, the scale of development proposed and the potential loss of the village feel.

County councillor for the area Milburn Douglas attended the consultation sessions.

He said: “The applicants want to build 400 properties, but there is still quite a bit of negotiation to be done with the planning department on various issues, such as affordable housing, section 106 agreements and access.

“There were quite a lot of ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ at the public exhibitions.

“People do tend to get concerned when anything new is going to happen in an area. There are a lot of properties proposed, which would be quite a bit for that area.

Properties are needed in south-east Northumberland, but it depends what sort of properties they are.

“The access points are also very important.

“We will have to wait to see what the details are and exactly what is being proposed to address concerns.”

Northumberland County Council will determine the application.