Plans approved for new homes in Hartlepool despite ambulance concerns from resident with brain tumour

Plans for up to eight homes have been given the go-ahead despite concerns about access for ambulances in an emergency from a mother-of-two suffering from an inoperable brain tumour.

Wednesday, 8th May 2019, 6:06 pm
Chloe Taylor (43) and Mike O'Hare (75) at the Hart Lane, Worset Lane crossing point. Picture by FRANK REID
Chloe Taylor (43) and Mike O'Hare (75) at the Hart Lane, Worset Lane crossing point. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool Borough Council planning committee approved proposals from Acland Homes and Leebell Developments to build up to eight homes on a site at Worset Lane, close to Throston Golf Club.

However Chloe Taylor, 43, who lives off Worset Lane and suffers from an inoperable brain tumour, had raised concerns over her access to the site and for emergency services.

Council bosses said the proposals would be subject to recommendations including a construction management plan which would ensure 24/7 access for emergency vehicles and appropriate access for all residents in the surrounding area.

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Fellow resident Mike O’Hare, speaking after the meeting, said he would be looking to appeal the decision along with Mrs Taylor.

A row previously broke out after a hedge at the site was encased in green netting to deny access to birds and other wildlife while permission was awaited, with the hedge later removed, and over 59 objections were submitted to the plans.

However at the planning committee meeting concerns were raised, including by Mrs Taylor, who was worried about access to her home, alongside road safety concerns near the site.

She said: “When Throston Golf Club was developed, the lane which accessed Hart Lane, was closed and a footpath with a barrier crossing was put in place.

“This has proved to be a death trap, claiming two lives so far.

“Due to the temporary Worset Lane closure, my major concern, which needs urgent attention, is how can I ensure that that essential link to 999 medical services is maintained throughout?

“An ambulance will not use the country back road and I can’t be without this essential link. I have an inoperable brain tumour.

“Medical teams at James Cook, RVI Newcastle and Sheffield have considered options and stuff with my husband and I, and the only option is to manage my condition [at home].

“This scheme needs to be addressed urgently.”

Kieran Bostock, council senior engineer, said the proposals would only go ahead once it was ensured 24/7 access for emergency vehicles and appropriate access for all residents in the surrounding area.

Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher said: “We really need to get to grips with what the officer has said about the access point, we can’t afford for any human error to block this access point, and it should be subject to a satisfactory access plan before it is approved.

“I don’t want to support something today that has a detrimental effect.”

Meanwhile Mr O’Hare, 75, who lives near Chloe, spoke at the meeting stating he feared the plans were already a ‘done deal’ before the meeting.

He also questioned how thorough the council’s site visit to the planned site was, and said he observed the whole thing.

He said: “They destroy an historic hedge before inspection, thus eliminating an ecology obstacle and traffic noise barrier that may have caused them later problems.

“Mr Litherland told me nothing can stand in Acland’s way. You can’t win, he said confidently. Is he right? Is this a done deal?

“This established haven for wildlife should be preserved. The Government has launched an environmental initiative which encourages the planting of trees.”

Stephen Litherland, managing director of Acland Homes, said at the meeting the plans would benefit the area and offered a contact number to address Mr O’Hare’s concerns.

He said: “The main objection I’ve faced is to do with the hedgerow. I’m happy to take a bit of a dressing down on that.

“We actually applied for planning permission in November, so we were expecting a decision by around February.

“When we found out that wasn’t going to be the case, we found out we would be up against nesting season, so we thought we would put the nets up to prevent birds from nesting in them.

“The nets were subsequently slashed by activists. I was left with two choices, trying to patch up the netting, or just take the hedge out.

“We’re scheduled to start the site in May, subject to planning permission.

“Objections from Mr O’Hare around construction works I’ve said I will be the first point of contact and will hand a personal mobile number to him.”

He also said he would plant hedgerows to compensate for those lost during the development.

Following the meeting, Mr O’Hare said he was ‘disgusted’ with the decision to approve the plans and said he and Mrs Taylor would be looking into appealing the decision, stating they still had concerns around access.

Mrs Taylor said: “You don’t know how it will work until it happens, but I don’t know how they’re going to resurface a road and still keep that access.

“I honestly can’t see how it practical or possible.

“I’m not happy to see it approved.”

Mr O’Hare said: “I’m disgusted with the decision. We’re going to look for ways to appeal this. It’s a big impact on all the residents.”