110-home Hartlepool development gets go-ahead - despite fears over flooding

The entrance to the new development in Valley Drive.
The entrance to the new development in Valley Drive.

A new 110-home development in Hartlepool has won final approval in spite of ongoing flooding fears.

Taylor Wimpey was granted full planning permission for the Tunstall Farm scheme off Valley Drive in West Park.

The sooner this development is permitted and construction begins, the sooner these benefits will be realised

Tom Baker, developer spokesman

There have been ongoing worries, including from ward councillors Brenda Loynes and Ray Martin-Wells about potential flooding in the area.

But councillors said they were satisfied with the views of the Environment Agency and a planning inspector, who said drainage work proposed by the developers would lessen the risk of flooding in the area.

A decision was put on hold for a month following Storm Desmond when water levels rose in a beck in Valley Drive and to see how it coped with the rain over Christmas.

Although the water rose on both occasions, the beck did not flood and a grid to collect debris did its job.

Tom Baker, on behalf of the developer, told Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee it had worked tirelessly with the local community and had amended parts of the scheme in response to concerns.

This included setting some houses further away from existing housing. Mr Baker added the development was worth £1.1 million in contributions.

It includes £884,000 towards affordable housing and £192,465 to meet educational needs.

Mr Baker said: “The sooner this development is permitted and construction begins, the sooner these benefits will be realised.”

Councillors voted five to two in favour of the application, which related to erection of 110 properties, infrastructure, landscaping and layout.

Since the application was lodged, the council received 86 letters of objection. Concerns included the effect on existing residents’ views, building on green belt land, questioning the need for more than 100 new homes and impact on the drainage. But no one objected at the meeting.

Coun Carl Richardson said: “I know Councillor Martin-Wells has been vociferous in his concerns about the flooding risk and rightly so.”

But he said he accepted the findings of the planning inspector and the council’s own engineers, adding: “I have no hesitation in supporting this.”

Voting against it, Coun George Springer said: “I’m not prepared to be linked with something that one day it seems more likely than not they will have more flooding up there.”

Afterwards, Coun Martin-Wells, who did not take part in the vote, said: “I sincerely hope that I’m wrong but I think that this will come back and haunt us in the future with flooding to the entrance of the development.”