Council denies snubbing armed forces after Hartlepool veterans housing plan turned down

Land to the rear of Seaton Lane, which has been earmarked for housing development.
Land to the rear of Seaton Lane, which has been earmarked for housing development.

A COUNCIL has reaffirmed its strong support for the armed forces following the rejection of plans for a “village” community that would have provided homes for war veterans.

Developers sought permission to build 580 sustainable low-cost homes off Brenda Road in a development that would have created 120 jobs and homes for armed forces veterans, older people, first-time buyers and community facilities.

But the plan was refused for a range of reasons including fears over the location of the site and the impact on businesses nearby.

Now Hartlepool Borough Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Allan Barclay, stressed that the decision taken by the Planning Committee should not be seen as a snub to ex-service personnel and was based on material planning considerations.

Councillor Barclay who served in the Royal Engineers for 25 years, said: “This decision wasn’t so much about the nature of the development but rather its proposed location off Brenda Road.

“There was particular concern over its close proximity to existing heavy industry and on a site allocated for industrial/commercial use.
“The proposed development might affect the future operation of the companies in that area and have a detrimental effect on the town’s economy.”

He added: “Hartlepool Council is and always will be a strong supporter of the armed forces.

“We have signed up to the North East Forces Community Charter and developed - in co-operation with other public bodies and representatives of the armed forces – the Hartlepool Armed Forces Community Covenant which commits us to supporting ex-service personnel in areas such as housing, health, social care and employment.

“As an ex-servicemen myself, I am fully aware of some of the issues faced by many people when they leave the armed forces and return to civilian life and we will continue to work closely with organisations representing their interests, to try to tackle these issues.”

John Neville, chairman of the Hartlepool branch of the Royal British Legion, said previously there is a need for these kinds of homes for veterans.

The applicants, Jersey-based Brenda Road Holdings, proposed to demolish existing buildings on the site, create a 70-bed residential care home, 300 apartments with 24-hour care for people aged 55 and over, 80 homes intended for armed forces veterans, 80 houses and 80 apartments for carers.

The plan also included a community centre, shops, workshops and offices.

Following the decision to refuse outline planning permission a spokesman said the applicants would go away and consider what was said.