A MAJOR development scheme featuring Hartlepool’s first homes aimed at armed forces veterans could be given a lifeline.
Permission for the ‘village’ community off Brenda Road to provide homes for ex-servicemen, first-time buyers and older people was refused by Hartlepool Borough Council last November.
The project, comprising 580 sustainable low cost homes, would have provided 120 jobs and accommodation for people needing varying degrees of care with 80 homes set aside for veterans.
Now developers, Jersey-based Brenda Road Holdings, for scheme known as SECAAH Village, which stands for Seaton Carew Amenities And Housing, are appealing against the refusal.
It means the decision to refuse permission will be reviewed and possibly overruled by The Planning Inspectorate.
The news has been welcomed by Hartlepool Combined Ex-Services Association which says the scheme could help veterans in the town forced to suffer in silence.
A lot of old veterans are sufferingTu Wilson
Councillors on the planning committee refused outline permission for the scheme over fears the development was too close to nearby heavy industry in Brenda Road and the land was earmarked by for employment.
The appeal could also cause unrest among local residents opposed to the scheme after more than 200 residents also signed a petition objecting to the development.
But Hartlepool Combined Ex-Services Association chairman Tug Wilson said that in 2012 the council signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant, which commits it to supporting ex-service personnel in areas such as housing, health, social care and employment.
Mr Wilson added: “At a meeting on March 26, Allan Barclay the council’s armed forces representative was asked how many houses there are in Hartlepool for armed forces veterans and he said none.
“We have got a lot of old veterans that are suffering so any advantages this could bring would be great.”
Coun Barclay previously said the refusal of the SECAAH scheme should not bee seen as a snub to ex-service personnel and stressed the decision was based on material planning considerations.
He said previously: “The proposed development might affect the future operation of the companies in that area and have a detrimental effect on the town’s economy.
“Hartlepool council is and always will be a strong supporter of the armed forces.” Coun Barclay said at the time he was fully aware of the issues faced by many people when they leave the armed forces and said the council would continue to work closely with organisations to try and tackle them.
The application includes demolition of existing buildings on the site, building a 70-bed residential care home, 200 apartments with 24-hour care for people aged 55 and over, 80 homes for armed forces veterans, 80 affordable homes, plus 200 apartments.
In a design statement the developers said it aimed to create a shared community with a strong sense of integration between all residents.
Will Birch, a spokesman for the developers, said: “I can confirm we are appealing. Initially the council’s planning officers recommended it to be approved, the councillors didn’t take their own officers advice.
“We think it is definitely worth appealing and stand by the project.”
Existing residents in the area objected to the scale of the development they said was out of keeping with the area, would add to traffic congestion in Seaton Lane and Brenda Road and result in a loss of privacy.