Hopes on plans

Government Inspector Kevin Ward during the Hartlepool Local Plan examination
Government Inspector Kevin Ward during the Hartlepool Local Plan examination

THE FENS Residents’ Association says it remains confident it can convince a Government inspector that a major housing development on its doorstep is unnecessary.

Kevin Ward has been appointed by the Government to examine Hartlepool Borough Council’s Local Plan which will guide all kinds of development in the town for the next 15 years.

Part of it is a proposed South West Extension of almost 2,500 from the A689 to Brierton Lane.

Robert Smith, vice chairman of Fens Residents’ Association, said: “Every time evidence about Hartlepool’s housing need over the 15 year plan period is updated the number of new houses projected falls significantly.

“Nevertheless we believe that the latest figure of 3,435 is still too high and that our calculation of less than 2,000 is realistic for Hartlepool.

“This would allow for the undisputed need for affordable housing, which could be sensibly located within the central area near to essential services, also contributing to town centre regeneration.”

The association disputes so much housing is needed in the light of other housing developments and say it has big implications for flood risk, traffic and the environment.

Mr Smith added: “Taking everything together it becomes abundantly clear that a South West Extension of Hartlepool with its huge issues of flood risk, traffic chaos and ecological damage is totally unnecessary.

“Fens Residents’ Association is not anti development, but we do strongly oppose breaching the present urban fence where it is obviously unneeded, inappropriate and damaging to the environment.”

The public examination is set to resume on Tuesday, September 24, at Hartlepool College of Education.

It was halted by Mr Ward in February over concerns about the council’s traveller and gypsy provision.

He also grilled planning officers over how they chose sites for proposed housing.