A four-day planning appeal over a major ‘village’ development in Hartlepool has been cut short after the council dramatically dropped its objection.
Hartlepool Borough Council had been due to defend its decision to refuse outline planning permission for the SECAAH Village scheme off Brenda Road and behind Seaton Lane.
The Council reviewed the new and additional evidence submitted by the appellants and in taking legal advice has subsequently decided not contest the appealCouncil spokesman
The proposal is for 300 apartments for over-55s, a residential care home with 70 studios, 80 houses intended for forces veterans, 72 residential apartments, and 58 affordable apartments.
It also includes a community centre, workshops for retail and office use, 641 car parking spaces and a bandstand.
The council’s planning committee refused the development in November 2014 on the grounds that it would result in the loss of important employment land and could also threaten nearby steelworks if new residents complained about noise.
But the developer appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, and the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government intervened and reserved the final decision to himself.
The planning inquiry at Hartlepool Civic Centre, led by inspector Mel Middleton, started yesterday but the council said it wished to withdraw its opposition.
A council spokesman said: “The application in 2014 was refused by Planning Committee as concerns were raised with regard to the loss of employment land and also the potential impact on the working practices of neighbouring businesses.
“Since the decision in 2014, the council reviewed the new and additional evidence submitted by the appellants and in taking legal advice has subsequently decided not contest the appeal; the appellants in turn have agreed not to seek an award of costs against the council.
“The public inquiry will still continue this week with the Planning Inspector making a recommendation to the Secretary of State in due course on whether to grant or refuse the outline planning permission.”
Paul Brown QC, representing Brenda Road Holdings, said: “We are grateful the council has seen the light.”
Two residents who live near the land attended the inquiry to raise concerns about flooding and the scale of some buildings, which could be three or four storeys high.
Mr Middleton said the Environment Agency and council had not objected on flooding grounds and works proposed as part of the development would increase drain capacity.
He added issues to do with scale would form part of a separate future detailed planning application.