Affordable housing is key to town’s future success

AN effective affordable housing plan is vital to Ponteland’s future development, according to its Mayor.

And Robin Ramsay believes that local and county organisations should discuss the option of some green belt land being used to help provide this accommodation.

Comments about the issue were made in his Annual Report.

With facilities such as nursing and sheltered housing in the pipeline as the average age of the community is expected to keep on rising over the coming years, Coun Ramsay said there is also a need for carers to live in Ponteland.

“A major requirement of this is to ensure the provision of affordable houses to rent as well as to buy,” he added.

“Given the costly nature of existing land within the permitted boundaries, serious consideration should be given to the use of green belt land.

“Discussions at the community forum meetings have indicated that as long as a coherent and lasting plan for provision of affordable housing is provided, such use might be accepted.”

The shortage of affordable housing has long been identified as a key issue for Northumberland County Council, where the housing strategy team has been set a target in the Local Area Agreement to deliver 196 such properties a year.