Plans to build new houses on the site of a village's auction mart have been changed by the developers.

Maple Oak Living had planned to transform the former Bellingham Auction Mart, which has been empty since 2002, by building 60 affordable new homes on the site.

But the housing development company said following comments from local residents, Bellingham Parish Council and Northumberland County Council, some of the plans for the development had been amended and resubmitted.

It now plans to build 64 new homes, including 20 assisted living apartments.

A letter sent to Northumberland County Council planning officers on behalf of Maple Oak Living, alongside the amended plans, said: “As you will be aware, we have engaged in extensive discussions with the council’s housing officers and adult services on the tenure mix of the affordable housing and the nature of accommodation to be provided within the apartment building.

“Over the course of the application, the strategic priorities have evolved and there is now greater clarity on what is required, and over what time frames. This has resulted in some changes to the nature of the proposed development, including a slight increase in the number of properties within the apartment building.”

There will be more rent to buy properties, alongside the supported housing units, older persons shared ownership units, and affordable rented homes.

According to the new plans, there will be 16 one-bedroom apartments, four two-bedroom apartments, 12 two-bedroom Tyneside flats, 15 two-bedroom bungalows, 10 two-bedroom houses, and seven three-bedroom houses.

Other changes to the scheme include the introduction of solar panels on residential properties and a footpath across the open space area in the north west of the site.

The use of ‘high-quality’ clay brick was originally proposed, but planning consultants Lichfields said following discussion with the county council, the updated plans now submitted include the use of natural stone quoins and elevations “which acknowledge the historic materials of the village” on certain areas through the development, while clay bricks would still be used in other areas.

The letter submitted alongside the new plans added: “Maple Oak Living has taken great care to ensure the proposed development responds to the comments of local residents, the parish council and Northumberland county Council. Wherever possible the proposals have been updated to address those comments, whilst recognising the scheme is at the margins of viability which is reflected in the site having stood vacant for many years, despite previously benefitting from planning permission.

“There is a demonstrated need for affordable housing in the area and the tenure mix now proposed ensures the development will be accessible to more people. The addition of further support within the apartment building will specifically assist in addressing the shortage of this type of accommodation in the area.”

For more details, visit the county council’s planning portal and search reference number 21/03415/FUL