Mayor’s ‘green wedge’ pledge

Mayor Stuart Drummond
Mayor Stuart Drummond
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HARTLEPOOL Mayor Stuart Drummond says an area of green space aimed at dividing a housing estate from a major new development will be created to the highest standard.

Mayor Drummond said the proposed green wedge, which will separate the Fens Estate from 1,750 new homes at Claxton, will be an “exemplar” site.

It comes after Hartlepool Borough Council’s cabinet committee recently backed the south west extension proposals in the Core Strategy.

The council’s Core Strategy is a planning blueprint that will shape the future of Hartlepool for the next 15 years.

A Government-appointed planning inspector will hold a public examination of the document before it is adopted next autumn.

Mayor Drummond was speaking at a meeting of the full council after concerns were raised that the commitment for the green wedge had not been included in minutes from a previous cabinet meeting.

Independent councillor Alison Lilley, who represents the Fens ward, called for a guarantee that it would not be diminished in any way.

Coun Lilley said: “At the cabinet meeting of September 26, the mayor guaranteed that the green wedge between the Fens Estate and any development at Claxton and Owton Grange would not be diminished in any way and that it would be an exemplar site in terms of landscape and conservation.

“Unfortunately this guarantee was not recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

“For the sake of good order could the guarantee be confirmed at this meeting and duly entered into the minutes?”

Mayor Drummond said: “It was a three-hour meeting and I don’t think every word was recorded, but the support has been followed up with the officers meeting with local residents.

“It won’t be diminished and we are all working towards it being an exemplar site.”

He added that since the meeting, officers had met with representatives from Greatham Parish Council and Fens Residents’ Association and that there has been two extensive site visits.

There will be further visits and “proactive” involvement with the groups.

He told Coun Lilley that while there could be changes to the boundary, the scale and impact of the green wedge will not be diminished.

Mayor Drummond said: “The council is committed to ensuring that the south west extension is delivered to the highest possible standard and that the green wedge provision is a valuable community and wildlife resource.”

Robert Smith, vice chairman of the Fens Residents’ Association, has told the Mail that the association will fight the housing plans.

The residents’ group argues the blueprint over-estimates the amount of housing needed in Hartlepool, that it will cause major traffic problems and that there are outstanding issues around drainage.

They plan to hold another public meeting for the estate in the New Year when the next round of consultation takes place.