Housing scheme welcomed

The proposed site
The proposed site

LOCAL Labour leaders have welcomed plans for a major new housing scheme on the edge of Peterlee, saying it will boost the local economy.

Members of the Peterlee Labour Group are relishing the prospect of a £100m housing scheme planned for Little Thorpe on the outskirts of Peterlee. Durham County Councillors who represent Peterlee, Audrey Laing and Jim Alvey, say the initiative is just what Peterlee needs.

It comes after former Labour representative on Peterlee Town Council, Susan McDonnell, who quit her role and is now standing as an independent candidate in the forthcoming local election, highlighted concerns about a lack of school places for families moving onto the site, potential traffic congestion on nearby Lowhills Road and a lack of leisure and work incentives to attract people to live on the new site.

Coun Laing, who represents Peterlee East, said: “At this time the economy must be the highest priority, therefore it is important that we work with developers rather than against them in ensuring that we do not lose any opportunities for Peterlee.All development brings with it the need for infrastructure, but we need to ensure that it also brings the best possible results for our residents.

“This development proposes to bring new jobs, increased population which will help our town centre, which desperately needs new investment, provide improved community open space and playing fields as well as more money into the local economy.”

Peterlee West representative Coun Alvey added: “It is easy to be negative, its more of a challenge to roll your sleeves up, sit down across a table and ensure that what is being promised is delivered and all of the possible problems are resolved. That’s what we believe being a politician is about, saying to the planners and developers how can this work for the benefit of Peterlee but not accepting second best. We believe that this development will help secure the future of Peterlee.”

He added that the group wants to make sure apprenticeships connected to the scheme are set up, that residents have a say in the open space and community areas that are delivered and that the wider regeneration of the nearby North East Industrial estate is also resolved.

Easington MP Grahame Morris has expressed his support for the Little Thorpe initiative, which would bring 1,000 new home, 85 jobs and a proportion of affordable housing.

The Labour MP said: “The planning application is yet to be submitted to Durham County Council, however, from the initial proposals, the creation of 100 new jobs, and a £100m boost to the East Durham economy would be most welcome.

“This is a large scheme, and it is only right that the views of the public are fully considered. I am pleased to see that the developers have undertaken a recent community consultation to help shape the proposals.

“I hope this level of community engagement will continue.”