Controversial proposals to gain retrospective approval for ‘impossible to see’ paving installed on a village green have been given the go-ahead by planning bosses.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee approved the plans for the permeable paving at five sites across the village green in Dalton Piercy.
Six letters of objection were received to the plans with concerns including fears the paving would lead to parking on the village green.
However, 11 letters of support were also received and applicant Jennifer White, from Dalton Piercy Parish Council, clarified the paving would be to protect the grass and was only for ‘deliveries and disabled access’.
She said: “The village green has some areas which have historically suffered damage during the winter months.
“Now grass has regrown it’s impossible to see where the paving is and the village green is back to it’s best.
“Parking is not permitted in the area but there is a need for vehicles to access areas.
“The paving includes gaps to allow the grass to grow through it, looking to the green you would just see the grass area.”
She also said there is no change of use to the land and the paving will protect grass from future vehicular damage.
The small sections of paving have been added to two areas to the east, one area to the west of North View and two areas close to the village allotments.
Councillors on the planning committee clashed after Coun Marjorie James proposed a site visit before making a decision on the plans to check potential access roads to the site.
However she was outvoted by 4 votes to 3 after a deciding vote by committee chairman Coun Rob Cook and said she was ‘disappointed’ at the decision not to implement a visit.
Councillors then voted in favour of the overall plans, agreeing with planning officers’ recommendations to give the proposals the go-ahead.
Coun Brenda Loynes said: “Before it was just a muddy mess, now it’s 100 times better, I fully support these plans.”
A planning report from senior planning officer Jane Tindall said: “The proposed development would see the repair and improvement of five areas of public open space which include areas of designated village green.
“This would result in the visual improvement of recreational amenity space visual amenities of the village as a whole.”
Six councillors voted in favour of the plans, one voted against and two councillors abstained.
Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service