Planning inspector calls for more ‘clarity’

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A PLANNING inspector has called for more “clarity” from planners and developers over the infrastructure needed for a major housing development.

Government-appointed planning inspector Kevin Ward is overseeing the public examination of Hartlepool Borough Council’s 15-year planning framework, the Local Plan.

A key part of the proposals is the south west extension from the A689 to Brierton Lane which would see 2,500 homes built. The masterplan includes the homes, space for a new primary school, local centres involving shops and a restaurant, play sites for children, cycle paths and possibly even an off-road BMX track plus leisure facilities.

But Mr Ward queried what form the leisure facilities, which the council refer to in the Local Plan, would consist of, either buildings or more natural large playing areas and whether that would be a requirement of the policy or not.

Mr Ward said the policy suggested the facilities would be built and said it needed to be clearer.

He said: “My concern is that this is a reasonably self-contained development with its own facilities and education etc.

“There seems to be a lot of uncertainty as to exactly what form that infrastructure will take.

“It starts to raise questions about the sustainability of the development if it is not clear what infrastructure will be required.”

The south west extension could also see a new GP surgery to accommodate four GPs but no health needs assessment has yet been carried out and representatives from master planners Spawforths say it “difficult” to speculate whether it would be needed due to changes in the health service.

Mr Ward added: “I would welcome if there was some discussions with the council and Yuill’s with a view to perhaps providing more clarity about what the infrastructure requirements are and who would provide them.”

The inspector asked for that information to be presented during the hearing.