Council proposal to turn garages into affordable bungalows

Posted on 21st November 2023 | in Community , Northumberland County Council

Concerns over the repossesion of council garages to create social housing have emerged, and a consultation event is planned to discuss the situation.

Some residents have been given one month’s notice to hand back their garage keys to the council

Residents of Amble are being asked to give their views on a proposed new affordable rented housing scheme which would provide 15 new bungalows for the town. The proposal is being put forward by Northumberland County Council to build the bungalows on council garage sites at St Lawrence Avenue, Kennedy Road, Alndale, Andrew Drive and Windsor Terrace.

The bungalows will be predominantly two bedroomed and designed so that they do not overlook the existing surrounding residents.

Some residents have already been given notice to quit their garages, despite the relatively early stage of planning. Many have voiced concerns at the one month notice they were given, although NCC have pointed out they were only legally obliged to give one week’s notice.

Public consultation

Residents living in the area will be invited to comment online and to attend a drop-in session on 12 December between 5pm – 7pm at the Radcliffe Club Charles Road, NE65 0RA. Council officers and an architect will be on hand to answer questions and discuss the plans.

The online consultation will go live on 27 November and the council will be writing to residents in the immediate locality to let them know about it.

Northumberland County Councillor, Colin Horncastle, cabinet member with responsibility for housing said: “We know there are residents in Amble who are looking to down-size from larger properties but who want to stay in the town and live independently, close to their neighbours, family and friends – so the affordable rented bungalows will help to fill this need.

“We welcome residents’ views and hope that people will take the time to share them with us.”

The proposed scheme has the support of Amble Town Council, Amble Development Trust and the local county councillor.

Affordable homes for local people

Councillor Horncastle added: “We have thousands of people on our Northumberland Homefinder register who are desperately looking for an affordable, accessible home to live in.

“The council is working hard to find suitable brownfield development sites to provide more affordable homes for local people in housing need. Subject to them being deemed appropriate in planning terms, the old garage sites are one such potential location where we are exploring the development of affordable rented bungalows.”

“The decision to terminate the garage tenancies wasn’t an easy decision but sometimes we really have to make some hard choices – and this unfortunately is one of them.

“We also understand it may not be a popular decision with the garage tenants and we are committed to working with them where help is needed. However, providing more affordable housing really must be our top priority.”

One resident who has now given up her garage told The Ambler, “They have taken the garages back despite the fact they have not yet even submitted any plans for the bungalows. If planning is refused, which it might be, will this just be unsightly unused patches of land down at the bottom end of Amble?”

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