January 30, 2020 @ 9:29 by Richard Dawson
Research from planning consultancy firm Barton Willmore shows that reinstating passenger services on the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne rail line would open up new sites for house building.
It is thought that if the Government follows through on its pledge to reopen the Newcastle to Ashington line, several large-scale sites at Seghill, Seaton Delaval, West Blyth and Bedlington could provide up to 4000 new homes for the region.
This would create 340 jobs per month during the construction phase and a further 750 operational jobs and 505 in the local supply chain if new business parks are also developed.
Barton Willmore said the rail connection would make these areas more accessible, encouraging housebuilders and developers to put forward plans.
James Hall, partner at Barton Willmore, explained: “We’ve looked at how reopening the Newcastle to Ashington line could transform South East Northumberland.
“Not only will it make commuting easier for people who live in places like Seghill, Blyth, Bedlington and Ashington, it will also encourage housebuilders to bring new homes to sites that would otherwise not be viable because they aren’t served by public transport.
“As Newcastle continues to create more jobs – and the North of Tyne Combined Authority works to secure new business investment – we’ll see demand for new homes continue to grow.
“With better connectivity in Northumberland, we will be able to distribute housing more evenly and minimise city sprawl.
“Many of the sites we’ve looked at along the rail line are not in the Green Belt.”
Roughly 95,000 people already live within a few miles of these disused stations. That could rise to 104,000 if new homes are built.