Council leader supports opposition to Fens housing plans

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RESIDENTS opposing plans to build a massive new housing development on their doorstep have been boosted by support from the new council leader.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher spoke out against the amount of new homes planned in the South West Extension at a public meeting organised by the Fens Residents’ Association.

The development of up to 2,750 homes, is set to be included in Hartlepool’s next Local Plan document which will guide future planning decisions for the next 15 years.

Part of the development is earmarked at Claxton which backs on to the Fens estate.

Coun Akers-Belcher said he was not in favour of the amount of housing planned for the site and said he will instruct planners to get a bigger green wedge to protect residents on the Fens and Owton Manor.

Residents turned out in force for the meeting at Fens Primary School, which was also attended by planning officers and Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.

Robert Smith, vice chairman of Fens Residents Association, said: “Planning officers confirmed that when work resumes on the Local Plan, which is currently suspended to finalise the Gypsy and Traveller Policy, that new evidence demonstrating that Hartlepool’s housing need is substantially less than previously calculated will be fully taken into account.

“This will be as well as taking into account the considerable amount of housing development which is going ahead since the original figures were arrived at.”

Mr Coppinger then spoke to residents about his plans for policing and told of their neighbourhood crime concerns.

One was the use of quad bikes and off-road motorbikes around the edges of the estate and anti–social behaviour caused by under age drinking.

Mr Smith added: “Officers and Mr Coppinger took the concerns on board and urged residents to report every incident by ringing the 101.”