A PLANNING inquiry is being held into a council’s decision to refuse the building of new homes in Hartlepool.
An appeal was lodged by developers Villiers Street Agricultural Land after Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee refused plans for new homes at Quarry Farm, near Naisberry Park.
The application, which sought planning permission in principle for 81 new homes, attracted over 1,000 objections from residents with concerns about flooding, traffic, building on greenfield land, and a rise in anti-social behaviour.
Councillors agreed and went against the advice of their officers who recommended it, saying the concerns were outweighed by the need to provide new housing in the town for the next five years.
Yesterday the two-day inquiry was started in the council chamber at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, and dozens of residents were in attendance.
The meeting heard an opening from both parties, the council and Villiers.
The council’s barrister, Ruth Stockley, said: “The adverse impact of the proposal significantly outweighs the benefits.
“The council is particularly concerned about right turn movements both onto the A19, and also the right-turn movement off the A19 onto Elwick Road.
“That junction has a relatively high accident rate and the traffic generated by the development will increase the traffic undertaking those manoeuvres and the result will be an increased risk of accidents at the junction.”
She added: “The council’s other concern is the increase in crime and anti-social behaviour that will ensue as a result of this development.
“You will hear from the council that there have been a number of such incidents due to an existing footpath and footpath to the rear of the site.
“In light of the further footpath that’s proposed, the council say that will result in an increase in such behaviour in the area.”
Andrew Williamson, for the developer, said in his opening that transport expert Vanessa Eggleston would be giving evidence at the hearing.
He said: “Mrs Egglestone concludes that the development is sustainable, can be accessed safely, and that the traffic could be safely accommodated within the adjacent highway network.”