Plans for 501 homes in Cramlington thrown out by councillors
January 10, 2019
County councillors have refused a planning application for 501 homes on the outskirts of Cramlington.
The proposals for land at West Hartford Business Park by Homes England, were unanimously rejected at Northumberland county council’s strategic planning committee on Tuesday.
Reasons for refusal included that the proposed development would result in the loss of a high quality employment site, would significantly diminish the range of employment land available both locally and County wide for employment development and undermine regional and local strategies for economic development and regeneration. It was also stated that insufficient detail had been provided regarding bird strike risk matters in respect of the on-site wildlife mitigation area resulting in uncertainty regarding the delivery of appropriate mitigation for Great Crested Newts and wetland birds within the site.
Cramlington Town Council lodged an objection to the proposal on the grounds that the application fell outside the town envelope as defined by the original development plan which saw the A192 as the northern boundary. Also the proposed development is some distance from existing facilities and the town centre and would generate additional car journeys to access services and facilities. It was also pointed out that there are no public transport links from the site to the town centre.
Other reasons for objecting to the plans included that it was seen as development in the open countryside which conflicts with a policy against such development in the draft Cramlington Neighbourhood Plan.
The Council also stressed that there is no pressing need for further housing allocations for Cramlington at this time. Current planning permissions and allocations within the draft Cramlington Neighbourhood Plan provide for over 3000 further houses up to 2031 which meets the Government’s own housing need figures. A key concern is the pressure new development will place significant pressure on existing facilities such as schools, public transport and health care.
Additionally a single access to the site past the fire station is not considered adequate. Any further access point would have be directly onto the A192. The safety of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the A192 to access the proposed housing site and nature park was also a major concern.
Councillor Wayne Daley welcomed the decision to refuse the houses saying ‘This site is key employment land – indeed it represents more than half the employment land available in the town and we need to take a long-term view on the best use of the land. Our draft Neighbourhood Plan does not allocate this site for housing and our policy is to oppose any further housing applications for sites which are not allocated in the Plan. Cramlington already has sufficient planning permissions in place to meet the Government’s own housing need figures for the town and clearly residents are concerned about the level of on-going and potential development”.
Councillor Barry Flux stated “Houses here would result in an already jam-packed Cramlington becoming even busier.” and backed the objections placed by Cramlington Town Council and the County Council planners.
Homes England representatives pointed out that the site had been available since 1999 with no take-up and that previous advice from the county council was that there was no likelihood of employment use coming forward.