‘Fight is not over’

Fens estate residents who are opposed to the proposed housing development that will take place in the fields behind them.
Fens estate residents who are opposed to the proposed housing development that will take place in the fields behind them.

DETERMINED residents have vowed not to throw in the towel over plans to build up to 1,750 new homes on their doorstep.

The Fens Residents’ Association is spearheading the estate’s opposition to the potential large development at Claxton.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s senior cabinet committee backed the inclusion of the land in its Core Strategy planning blueprint for the next 15 years.

But the group says it will put its objections to a Government-appointed planning inspector who will hold a public examination of the document before it can be adopted by the council next autumn.

Robert Smith, vice chairman of the Fens Residents’ Association, said: “Although we are very disappointed in the cabinet’s decision, it’s not the end of the line.

“There is a heck of a lot for the inspector to look at.

“The mayor and members of the cabinet admitted we had put forward a lot of sound objections and arguments and they still stand.

“We are certainly not throwing in the towel. There is still a lot of strong feeling about it.”

The residents’ group argues the blueprint over-estimates the amount of housing needed in Hartlepool.

They also believe it will cause major traffic problems in the Fens area and that there are outstanding issues around drainage.

Mr Smith added residents were unhappy that councillors backed proposals for housing at Claxton were included in the draft strategy, but removed Tunstall Farm and Quarry Farm despite similar objections.

He said: “We feel we have been treated like second class citizens not worthy of the same considerations even though our problems will be on an even bigger scale than on the two sites that were withdrawn.

“The problem of affordable housing should be tackled directly and not creating an oversupply of private housing.”

Fens Residents’ Association plans to hold another public meeting for the estate in the New Year when the next round of consultation takes place.