Site housing plan backed

PLANS to build seven houses on the site of a vehicle hire business have been unanimously backed by councillors.

Eden Park Self Drive Hire, in Seaton Lane, Hartlepool, is set to relocate and be replaced with two pairs of semi-detached houses and one block of three town houses.

Councillors unanimously backed the plans at a recent Hartlepool Borough Council planning meeting.

Keith Hair, owner of Eden Park, said he was pleased councillors supported his plans for outline planning consent for the site, which currently has a single storey building on it.

A report to the meeting said: “Although the application is in outline, the applicant has provided an indicative layout and design, showing two-storey properties, comprising of two pairs of semis, either side of a block of three terraced properties.”

Planning officers had recommended the application be refused due to concerns over the effect a housing development could have on the future development of the nearby Sovereign Park industrial estate.

Officers feared any new business moving in could be constrained by the new houses.

But councillors said there was no difference between the application site and the new Bellway housing estate further up Seaton Lane and approved the plans unanimously.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hair, 64, said: “I thought it was a straight forward application so I am pleased that it was approved.

“I have been there 26 years and there has been one factory built in that time I have been here.

“We are moving to new premises in Brenda Road.”

Mr Hair said the business is expected to move within the next few months but there is no definite time scale for when the development will get under way.

Councillors said they should consider applications on their own merit.

Conservative group leader Ray Wells said: “What is the difference between this site and the one that we gave permission for on the other side of the road?”

Officers said the difference was the application site backed on to the business park.

Independent councillor Paul Thompson said: “It appears to me that we are holding back for something better to come along, something that will create jobs.

“There is an opportunity to do that here.”

Planning chiefs said their concern was that it could “potentially prejudice” future development on the business site.

But Labour councillor Marjorie James said: “We can only deal with something that is in front of us.”

Ahead of the meeting, planners received one letter of objection and two letters of support.

There had been an application to build four detached houses on the site approved back in 2007, despite objections from officers at the time.

But the permission lapsed in March 2010 before any development had started.