Bishop Cuthbert builders protest at Hart Village gypsy site as they plan to build 500 new homes

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PLANS have been submitted for 500 new homes on the edge of Hartlepool – opposite a site earmarked for a controversial gypsy and traveller plot.

Developer Leebell, a Bellway and Persimmon joint venture, says they are still pressing ahead with plans for the new houses – and will be further objecting to Hartlepool Borough Council’s finance and policy committee’s selection of the chosen encampment site closest to its planned housing scheme.

Hart Smallholdings East, which has been chosen along with number one option Hart Smallholdings West, further up the A179, lies diagonally opposite where Bellway wants to build the new homes.

The council’s decision has sparked outrage in the community, with an extra-ordinary meeting of Hart Parish Council to be held tonight.

A Bellway spokesman said: “We are continuing to progress our application for the 500 homes and will be lodging further objections to the Hart East proposed gypsy and traveller site.

“We lodged an objection initially when the council was considering 16 sites as possible locations, now that this site appears to have been earmarked we will be lodging a further objection.”

The £145m homes scheme, known as Upper Warren and covering a 21-hectare greenfield site, would extend the 2,100-home Middle Warren estate.

It lies to the west of Merlin Way and is bordered by the A179, with Hart Quarry to the south-west.

There would be an average of 33 houses per hectare, with a mix of two, three, four and five-bedroom properties two to three storeys high.

Vehicle access would be taken from Merlin Way with secondary emergency access via Viola Close.

One Bishop Cuthbert resident and mum-of-two, Heidi Readman-Ahmed, 33, said: “I might live somewhere considered ‘plush’, but it won’t be for long when there are 500 houses and a gypsy camp round the corner. I think I’ll just stick a ‘For Sale’ sign up.”

In its submissions to the council for outline planning permission, Leebell says it has already conducted its own public consultation.

Concerns raised included a lack of housing need, affordable housing, landscaping and wildlife impact, traffic and access issues, public transport provision, amenity provision, monitoring of anti-social behaviour and flooding, though Leebell says these are addressed in its submissions.

Developers say aside from “meeting a pressing housing need” and meeting requirements of the Hartlepool Local Plan, the scheme could create around 600 construction jobs.

A decision is expected in November.

The council, which has to earmark the gypsy/traveller site under Government policy, say it would only go ahead once demand presents itself.