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Agenda item

DM/17/03908/FPA - Land to the West of Hall Cottage, Hall Road, The Grove

Development of 29 dwellings including means of access, associated car parking and landscaping


The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer regarding an application for the development of 29 dwellings including means of access, associated car parking and landscaping (for copy see file of Minutes).


The Senior Planning Officer gave a detailed presentation on the application, which included photographs of the site and plans of the proposed layout and those members who had visited the site on the previous day so were familiar with the location and proposals.


Councillor D Hicks, Local Member, addressed the committee to outline concerns regarding the application.


It was noted that The Grove area had over recent years seen a number of larger brownfield and playing sites lost to housing development. Many concerns and objections had been raised regarding the application and despite the applicant trying to do their best to mitigate those concerns, issues remained, mainly relating to loss of countryside and the additional traffic that would be forced onto the roundabout at the top of Mutton Clog bank.


Despite all of the concerns however, he did believe that the development would be well executed by the developer and would lead to improvements at the nearby ponds. In addition, more pupils would attend the local school, so it would benefit them also.


Mrs R Armstrong, local resident, addressed the committee to speak in objection to the application. She advised that committee that the ‘white wickets’ site was at the heart of The Grove and was of significant landscape value to residents. She noted that because of its beauty, it had been featured on national tv and had featured within regional newspapers.


A dedicated facebook page, followed by up to 300 people regularly shared photographs and memories of the local amenity and was also featured as a guided walk and used daily by walkers.


Mr S Garden, local resident, addressed the committee to speak in objection to the application. Mr Garden acknowledged the work of the Planning Officer and thanked them for their work in bringing forward this application today with a recommendation of refusal.


He noted, that whilst Amethyst Homes had undertaken excellent work to redevelop the brownfield site at Genesis Way and other brownfield sites left over from the old steel works, this site was not brownfield and mother nature had reclaimed it and made it into a beautiful spot within the local area.


Ms K Reed, Planning Agent for Project Genesis addressed the committee to speak in support of the application. She advised that the Trust had a good reputation for redeveloping other areas in The Grove area such as Hallgarth and Fell View. The application site was included within the Project Genesis masterplan developed in 2012 and would provide much needed revenue for environmental improvements and industrial improvements in the area

She went on to highlight the following points in relation to the Planning Officers statement:

·         Mitigation of concerns met

·         Landscape visual assessment undertaken had not been fully considered by the Council

·         Housing Position Statement had not been fully considered by the Council

·         Inadequate 5 year housing supply.


Ms Reed, further went on to refer to a recent appeal at Esh Winning which had been upheld by the Planning Inspector which had significant implications to the consideration of the current application.


Councillor Shield added that whilst he acknowledged the laudable work of the developer in attempting to mitigate concerns of residents and that the site was brownfield since reclaimed by mother nature in to somewhat of a beauty spot he did feel that the application site was outside of the village curtilage and the development of the site would cause traffic issues.


Whilst moving refusal of the application, he did however note the application may had been deemed acceptable if it had been in a more amenable position.


Councillor Darkes Seconded the proposal.


Following a vote being taken it was




That the application be refused for the reasons as detailed in the report.



Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714