CONCERNS have been raised over the availability and sustainability of affordable housing in Tynedale.

Northumberland County Council has confirmed plans to deliver 196 affordable units across the county, including in Allendale, with a further 460 potential developments in the pipeline, including Hexham.

In housing terms, affordable means 80 per cent of the market value and developers are required to contribute affordable homes on sites with ten or more new homes.

However, the Courant has heard from various Tynedale-based prospective buyers who are instead searching outside the district due to the area’s inflated house prices and lack of opportunities.

Barton Willmore’s Stuart Natkus, who represents Taylor Wimpey, expressed repeated concerns about the limitations imposed on the town through the Northumberland Local Plan at a Northumberland County Council meeting to discuss allocated housing sites.

On Hexham’s unsuitability for affordable housing, he said: “The committed supply falls well short of the requirement and is particularly small given the size and role played by the town in meeting wider housing need and providing local services and facilities.

“Hexham will be lucky to get any market housing.”

Hexham Community Housing Limited, was formed following a strong desire from townspeople for cheaper houses, as identified through a housing needs assessment, conducted as part of the Hexham Neighbourhood Plan, in 2016.

And one of the directors Dave Clegg said: “It gave us strong evidence of the significant housing needs in the town.

“There’s no new social housing in Hexham. Groups of people find it difficult to find suitable housing in Hexham and quite a number need to move away.”

Hexham Courant:

Figures from the Government show new council-led social housing schemes in England have slumped from 220,000 between 1980 and 1984 to 10,000 in the last five years.

Further concerns were raised after it was claimed the government’s ‘Planning for the Future’ consultation would cast affordable housing schemes in rural areas in doubt due to the planning system changes.

The Local Government Association found that the proposal would have led to 30,000 homes going undelivered with fewer homes being built in the North compared to the South.

Hexham's MP Guy Opperman praised the Government's affordable housing funding commitments. He said: "Young people deserve the opportunity of saving and getting on the housing ladder to get a home of their own.’’