Ponteland Green Belt Group attended todays Cabinet Meeting at County Hall.
Grant Davey (Leader of the Council) introduced the Report saying that NCC had been contacted by The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and asked to submit an Expression of Interest for support in developing a proposal for a Garden Village. Councillor Davey said that he thought that the proposed site (Dissington Estate) was ‘somewhere near Ponteland’.
The Garden Village proposal is for 1800 homes – this is in addition to the housing numbers proposed for Ponteland within the Core Strategy (minimum 900 with potential for nearly 2000 houses).Councillor Peter Jackson and Councillor Reid objected to the proposal; the following is a summary of some of the points raised –
NCC were not directly contacted and asked to submit a proposal – a Government circular was sent to ALL Councils throughout the Country notifying them of the scheme.
The current proposal does not meet the clearly defined criteria for the scheme; DCLG state –
- The garden village must be a new discrete settlement, and not an extension of an existing town or village.
- It is important that new garden villages are built as a response to meeting housing needs locally.
- In exchange for guaranteed housing delivery, we will work with you to identify and deliver planning freedoms to support housing growth including, for example, ensuring that there is greater ability to resist speculative residential planning applications, and to continue protecting the Green Belt
- We welcome expressions of interest which make effective use of previously developed land (brownfield land) and/or public sector land.
NCC and Lugano Developments have identified the site (Dissington Estate); there are other more appropriate sites across Northumberland that fit the established criteria for this Government initiative.
The proposed scheme is very similar to the Birney Hill proposal (Village concept, Green Belt Development); NCC legally challenged this at great expense little over a year ago – rightly arguing against inappropriate development within Green Belt and no identified housing need.
Up to 12 Garden Villages/Towns/Cities will be progressed – If this NCC scheme is chosen, Grant Davey stated that the Government would have to understand that the current Core Strategy would be delayed yet further; NCC would need to incorporate further deletion of Ponteland Green Belt and to schedule yet further Consultation timeframes.
NCC have stated that they will progress this housing development even if they do not get DCLG scheme approval.
Interesting times ahead as we attempt to fully understand why NCC continue in their determination to destroy the special character of Ponteland.
Ponteland Green Belt Group