New twist in Hartlepool homes bid as applicant appeals against refusal decision
An appeal has been lodged over a decision by councillors in Hartlepool to refuse permission to build 14 new homes near the town’s Summerhill Visitor Centre.
In August Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee discussed proposals for the three and four-bedroom homes at Southbrooke Farm, off Summerhill Lane.
The plans were refused by councillors, in line with recommendations from council officers, which deemed the principle of the development to be “unacceptable”.
However, an appeal has now been lodged over the refusal on behalf of the applicant, Mike Dickinson, meaning it will go to the national Planning Inspectorate for a final ruling.
Councillors at December’s planning committee meeting were updated on the appeal being lodged and will hear of its result when the decision is made.
Officers noted the application was refused for a number of reasons, including how it was an “unsustainable form” of development and the proposals would have had a “detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the Park Conservation Area”.
It was also ruled the proposals would negatively impact on ecology and nature conservation, and the local and strategic road network.
The proposals were previously approved by councillors in 2017, subject to a section 106 legal agreement securing planning contributions, which the applicant had agreed to pay at the time.
However the applicant later contacted council officers and said the costs totalling some £235,000 could not be met in full - which included contributions towards highways, education and sporting facilities in Hartlepool.
At a meeting to decide the application in August, a representative for the applicant said an alternative figure had been proposed.
This included a total of £60,000 in section 106 contributions to offset the impact of the housing while providing “some positive planning gains for the community”.
Following discussion, councillors on the committee voted in line with the recommendations of planning officers to refuse the application.
Several councillors, including councillor Jennifer Elliott, stressed the importance of section 106 developer contribution funds for Hartlepool residents.
Speaking at August’s meeting, she said: “It’s my social responsibility and it’s our social responsibility as this committee to make sure that we’re getting the best for our town and for our borough for future generations.
“For me, in good conscience, I cannot support a development that doesn’t come with the benefits of these negotiations.”