Housing development at centre of wildlife row recommended to get green light by Hartlepool council planners

A decision is to be made on a proposed Hartlepool housing development at the centre of a row over the use of controversial wildlife netting.

Friday, 29th March 2019, 1:33 pm
Updated Friday, 29th March 2019, 1:33 pm
The covered hedge row along Worsett Lane, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Council planning officers have recommended Acland Homes Ltd and Leebell Developments Ltd are given planning permission to build up to eight homes on a site at Worset Lane, close to Throston Golf Club.

A row broke broke out after a hedge at the site was encased in green netting to deny access to birds and other wildlife while permission is awaited.

The site of the proposed development.

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The use of netting has been the subject of controversy nationally, with campaigners claiming animals can get trapped inside.

However Stephen Litherland, managing director of Hertfordshire-based Acland Homes defended use of the material and said the main risk to wildlife came from protestors slashing the netting and letting wildlife get inside.

The housing proposals are to go before the Hartlepool Borough Council planning committee on Wednesday, with officers recommending they are given the go-ahead.

A report from senior planning officer Jane Tindall said: “There are considered to be material benefits arising from the proposed development.

The covered hedge row along Worsett Lane, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

“It is considered that the proposed development would, overall, positively benefit each of the threads of economic, social and environmental sustainability and would deliver sustainable development.”

The hedge at the centre of the row would be removed in the next few weeks if plans get the go-ahead, with the applicant stating he has worked with the council to protect wildlife.

As part of the plans the developer would be required to contribute £23,658 towards primary education, £19,742 to secondary education and also funds towards sport provision.

Three letters of objection have been received by the council over the proposals, raising issues such as highway implications and volume of traffic.

One Worset Lane resident said: “We are concerned about the volume of traffic that will be using Worset Lane.

“The road is very narrow and is in a state of disrepair at present. Also the site could be of architectural interest. The more traffic using Worset Lane could cause problems in the future.”

However council planning bosses said the material benefits would outweigh any adverse impact of the development.

A design and access statement from the applicant said: “The general appearance of the site (being residential in nature) will not appear out of context in what is primarily a residential area.

“There is sufficient space between each of the plots along with sufficient spacing between the existing and proposed development so as not to impact on the privacy and amenity of both existing and proposed dwellings.”

A decision will be made on the plans at the council planning committee meeting at the Civic Centre at 10.30am next Wednesday.

Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service