Why has Wansbeck Road been chosen as a site for development?+
Wansbeck Road has been chosen as it is a sustainable site for housing development, due to its proximity to key services and local amenities. Housing developments are a key driver for economic growth, which Northumberland County Council are actively trying to pursue, this is highlighted by the reopening of the Northumberland Railway Line. Ashington is a main town in the locality and has the infrastructure to support housing developments.
The mix of housing types that we propose at Wansbeck Road would maximise the opportunities for people who want to move to or stay in the area to do just that. We have already been approached by local people inquiring if they can put down a deposit on a house which backs up our belief that there is a clear local need for these new homes in Ashington.
Why are you building on a greenbelt site?+
The site is not in the designated greenbelt.
The Wansbeck Road housing proposal will affect waiting times at GPs and dentists, schools and the removal of green spaces in the local area. What are you doing to help with this?+
As part of the development, we would be contributing to the costs of providing more capacity in the local primary schools and making a financial contribution towards the provision of more doctors and dentist in the area. As part of any scheme, we would be incorporating green links and areas of public open space improving links to the local footpath network and providing habitats for wildlife and natural vegetation which would compensate for the loss of any habitats in the developed site, on land adjacent to the housing.
Will Ashington residents be able to afford the affordable housing on the site?+
New housing developments in Ashington require 10% of the development to be affordable homes, in this case we would provide up to 19 houses and we propose that all of these homes are to be for affordable home ownership. The type of housing would be in line with the County Councils policy for affordable housing. The price would be based on the value of local houses so should be affordable for the people of Ashington.
Why don’t you renovate empty houses that aren’t fit for purpose?+
We do not own and therefore do not have control over other houses.
Why should our community support this proposal?+
We believe that the communities that host our projects should share in the benefits, which is why we set up the Banks Community Fund as a way for us to give back. There are many social, economic and environmental benefits.
Do you have a construction management plan?+
A detailed construction management plan will be in place to safely and effectively deal with all operations during the construction period, including HGV traffic movements relating to the site’s development. The plan will also specify when construction can be carried out, as well as how noise, dust, surface water and mud on local roads will be minimised through the duration of the construction period. The construction management plan will be submitted to the local authority either at the reserved matters stage, or will be conditioned by the local authority. This means local residents will have an opportunity to comment on the construction method plan, and where required, suggest changes. The construction management plan, once approved by planning, can be enforced by the local planning authority.
How many people will the Wansbeck Road development employ during construction?+
The development will deliver around 76 full time direct jobs and 63 full time indirect jobs during a three-year construction period.
Can the local community benefit from the Banks Community Fund?+
Yes! Organisations and groups close to a proposed or operational Banks site could be eligible to apply for a grant from the Banks Community Fund. Funding is available now for community groups, sports clubs and other local organisations in the area so please contact us directly here if you would like to apply.
Have you had any pre-planning discussions with the local council?+
Yes, a pre planning application was submitted in 2021 to Northumberland County Council. We have listened to the feedback received and made appropriate changes to the proposal. We will continue to proactively work with the local authority and the community throughout this project.
I have concerns about the wildlife on the site during and after construction. How will you avoid disturbing delicate habitats?+
The design of the site has been carefully considered to mitigate against the loss of wildlife and habitats. Luckily the majority of the site is currently an arable field which by its nature is ploughed and replanted every year. The boundary habitats will be maintained as part of the design wherever possible. We will maintain a landscaped buffer zone around the existing pond to the north and will create a new landscaped area in the fields to the west to create some betterment to this area which incorporates a series of ditches and ponds to transfer and hold surface water from the site before discharging into the river system.
This project would also deliver a biodiversity net gain of at least ten per cent for the local environment through a range of ecological enhancements, which could involve additional tree and hedgerow planting, and the creation of wild flower meadows or nature ponds.
How will the traffic in my area be affected during the construction of Wansbeck Road should it go ahead?+
Inevitably with construction work there will be an addition to traffic due to the construction vehicles. However, disruption will be kept to a minimum.
If the application were successful, A detailed construction management plan will be in place to safely and effectively deal with all operations during the construction period, including HGV traffic movements relating to the site’s development.
The proposed site for the new homes is ideally located to access shops and services on foot or by bike and assessments have shown that local roads do in fact have the capacity to manage future traffic flows in the area.
Is there capacity in terms of utilities provision for services including water and sewerage to serve this development?+
Banks Property Limited is in the process of consulting with service authorities to serve the development, however it has already been confirmed by Northumbrian Water Limited that there is sufficient capacity in surrounding sewers and water pipes to serve this development.
Will the proposed new homes be sustainable in terms of their energy usage and carbon emissions?+
All homes will be fitted with electric vehicle charge points, and the scheme will be served by a sustainable surface water drainage system. This holds back water within basins and drainage ditches within or close to the site and slowly releases this to the water course to prevent flooding downstream or on the site itself. Infrastructure is also being put in place which promotes cycling and walking both within the development, towards the town centre and the proposed Northumberland Line station. All homes will be constructed to the sustainable requirements set out in building regulations as a minimum, this is likely to include the use of new renewable technology for heating rather than gas boilers. However further sustainable construction techniques and the use of sustainable materials will be considered at the detailed application stage.
The land sits outside the Northumberland County Council development plan for housing in the area. Why are you still trying to develop on it?+
We believe this is a sustainable location for housing development, being within close proximity to local amenities and services.
Wansbeck Road will not be wide enough to support HGV traffic entering and exiting the site. What are you proposing?+
A new vehicle access would be constructed which will be wide enough to allow construction vehicles, refuse vehicles and buses to turn in and out of the site onto Wansbeck Road.
Northumberland County Council are well above their target of new home building in the area. Why do you still plan on building this proposal?+
The housing requirement target set out in the local plan of 885 net dwellings per annum is a minimum requirement, therefore the local authority are allowed to approve more applications if they choose to. The reopening of the Northumberland Railway Line highlights the ambitious growth strategy the council have for the North of Tyne corridor and further housing development over the coming years will be essential to retain and attract people to the area if economic growth is to be achieved.
You are a developer, not a house builder. Will you sell if you get planning? If so, to who?+
Our business model is usually to obtain planning permission and sell on to a housebuilder to build out the site. We are currently at an early stage of this project and therefore we have not had any discussions relating to the sales process, as we recognise there is still some distance to go before this happens. However, we have a long track record of working with industry-leading housebuilders across the region who sign up to working to the high standards that we specify and to keeping the promises that we make to local communities.