Plan for 52 homes on Hart Reservoir plot set to be discussed by councillors

A section of the water at Hart Reservoir.
A section of the water at Hart Reservoir.

Plans to turn a disused reservoir into a housing estate featuring up to 52 homes are to be discussed again by planning bosses.

Proposals to build the homes off Hart Lane in Hartlepool were initially approved by the council planning committee in 2016 despite objections.

However, after a number of changes to planning policy locally and nationally, the application for the Hart Reservoir site is required to go before the committee again to seek approval.

A total of 23 objections were submitted to the plans including concerns of overdevelopment, noise pollution, loss of views and traffic issues such as congestion.

However the plans are recommended for approval in a report by senior planning officer Laura Chambers.

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

“It is considered that, on balance, the application represents a sustainable form of development.”

The report also states the developer will contribute £153,780 towards primary education, £51,119 for secondary education, £13,000 for sports provision and up to £18,000 for renewable energy infrastructure as part of the plans.

The application was first submitted in September 2015 looking to build up to 70 homes but was later revised to 52 homes after issues such as housing density were raised by an assessment of the application.

The plans will also include affordable housing provision and a deal to ensure the maintenance of roads, open space and the landscape around the reservoir site.

A design and access statement from applicant Hartlepool-based property developer Brett Wilkinson claims the area would benefit from the development.

It said: “The proposal would contribute towards the housing needs of the borough. It is a location where people wish to live.

“The site is well located with suitable public transport connections and nearby amenities within walking distance. It would enhance the value of the adjoining public open spaces.”

Concerns had been raised when the plans were initially submitted over fears about the over-development of the area and claims it was already overloaded with similar properties which proved difficult to sell.

The worries had come in from the likes of Hart Parish Council, Hartlepool Civic Society and then-ward councillor Paul Beck.

A letter from the parish council read: “This proposal, while having a separate outlet from the adjoining estate, is simply an add-on to a sprawling collection of dwellings.

“The designs are no different to those found everywhere in each new opportunity for unnecessary developments.

“The area is overloaded with similar residential properties that are difficult to sell.”

A decision will be made on the proposals by the council planning committee at its meeting on Wednesday,  February 6 at 10am.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service