Councillors give green light for another 500 homes on Bishop Cuthbert site

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A PLUSH housing estate is set to further expand after councillors agreed plans for 500 new homes.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee has backed applicant Leebell Developments’ plans for the site south of the A179, known as Upper Warren.

Work on the new houses - to be built on land opposite the Tall Ships pub on the Bishop Cuthbert estate - is expected to start in 18 months.

The plans were agreed by 10 votes to four, despite concerns about the size and scale of the development and access issues.

The outline planning permission was for a mix of two, three, four and five bedroom homes, of which 15 per cent will be affordable housing.

Ahead of the meeting, the proposals had attracted 13 letters of support, but 41 objecting to it.

Supporters say the development would help them get on the property ladder as a first time buyer, bring more jobs to the town and it would be good for the local economy.

But a letter from Dave Hooks, vice chair of the Bishop Cuthbert Resident’s Association, was read out and raised concerns about flooding, the visual impact, the impact on school places and a lack of community facilities.

Mr Hooks said: “The developer says all 77 points of concern have been dealt with but we are yet to be convinced.”

During the debate, Labour member Paul Beck said: “We are missing a trick here if we are to have a good community, it just seems to be a mass of housing.”

Independent councillor Keith Fisher added: “The whole estate still feels like a building site.”

Chris Pipe, the council’s planning services manager, said: “It is a building site and the roads remain unadopted for that reason.”

Putting Hartlepool First councillor Geoff Lilley said he felt the size of the new development would have a “significant detrimental impact” on primary school children in the area and said places were already “tight”.

But as part of the legal contract, the developers have agreed to an £852,000 contribution towards primary education provision and a £250 donation per house towards play provision and a £250 donation per house towards sports facilities.

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

After talks with the council, the developer has come up with a series measures to minimise the impact on surrounding roads.

They include the developer paying for the re-modelling of the Easington Road, Hart Road and West View Road roundabout, a bus lay-by on Merlin Way and a toucan crossing on the same road plus improvements on the A179.

Peter Jordan, speaking on behalf of the developers, said: “We are delighted to get the backing of the committee.

“We have tried to come up with a good package and a good scheme and I think we have achieved that.

“We are hoping to start work between 18-months and two years time.”

The plans were agreed subject to a legal agreement.