Deadline looms on planning blueprint

From left, Robert Smith, Gillian Smith, Michael Ward, Coun Alison Lilley, Joan Smith and Coun Geoff Lilley at the site of the proposed new housing
From left, Robert Smith, Gillian Smith, Michael Ward, Coun Alison Lilley, Joan Smith and Coun Geoff Lilley at the site of the proposed new housing

RESIDENTS are urged to have their say on a major planning blueprint which could see a massive new housing estate built on their doorstep.

Land at Claxton, near the Fens estate, Hartlepool, is earmarked by Hartlepool Borough Council for up to 2,400 new houses as part of its core strategy.

It sets out the town’s development targets and policies for the next 15 years.

But many residents on the Fens estate and in Greatham village oppose the plans, and have held numerous public meetings to raise awareness.

The deadline for comments on the revised core strategy is this Friday.

Following residents’ concerns at the loss of countryside and wildlife habitat, planners have included a green wedge.

Michael Ward, chairman of Fens Residents’ Association, said: “Despite this, an overwhelming body of opinion remains that development at Claxton is not only unnecessary, but would be the cause of many problems in the future.

“In particular there is a great deal of scepticism over the projected future need for as many as 2,400 houses in the south western expansion, against a background of economic uncertainty and an ailing housing market.

“Should the expansion take place, there are also grave concerns about adding yet another junction to the busy A689.

“An improved Dalton Back Lane junction could provide far better access to whatever development takes place.”

Residents also stress that if a development at Claxton goes ahead, then work on the green wedge such as landscaping, tree planting, drainage and wetland creation should start immediately.

Mr Ward added: “I would like to remind residents that it is essential to send in comments before the deadline of Friday, February 11.

“All responses received in time will be considered by planners and Government inspectors, whether for or against the plans. It is not a ‘done deal’, and everyone’s opinion is valuable.”

Emotions are also running high in Greatham over the Claxton plans and a proposal for land around Graythorp to be identified for the development of “eco-industries.”

Greatham resident Sue Watson, who organised a drop-in session last week, said: “Greatham is in an insidious position in that the preferred option clearly puts this special village at risk from being swamped by housing to the north at Claxton and by landfill sites to the south east.

“Our general view is that the core strategy lacks vision for a sustainable future and that whilst Hartlepool Council continues to allow the town to be the dustbin of the North-East that no top class businesses will come to the area.”

Objections include the possible impact the industries could have on Greatham Creek which is one of the last remaining salt marsh areas in Teesmouth and is a natural habitat for numerous animals, fish and migrating birds.

l HAVE your say by emailing comments to planningpolicy@hartlepool.gov.uk or in writing to: The Planning Policy Team, Hartlepool Borough Council, Bryan Hanson House, Hanson Square, Hartlepool, TS24 7BT.