Pickles grants permission for North East greenfield homes

Plans for more than a thousand homes on two greenfield sites in Northumberland have been given the green light by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

New homes: more than 1,000 contained in secretary of state approvals this week
New homes: more than 1,000 contained in secretary of state approvals this week

In the first decision, Pickles granted Persimmon Homes full permission for 225 homes and outline permission for another 425, along with shops and a health centre, on open land between Wallsend and Longbenton.

The site was safeguarded as open land in the North Tyneside Unitary Development Plan. But as the plan period ended in 2006, the secretary of state judged that the safeguarding requirement no longer applied.

He gave limited weight to the prospect of securing affordable homes, since a planning obligation only guaranteed a 25 per cent affordable contribution on the 225-home initial phase.

However, he concluded that the site was in a sustainable location for development, with only a localised impact on the area’s appearance, and the lack of a five-year land supply in the area carried significant weight in favour of the proposal.

He also cited the scheme’s economic benefits and promised improvements to two local parks in concluding the National Planning Policy Framework’s presumption in favour of sustainable development should be applied.

Meanwhile, Pickles approved plans lodged by Barratt, David Wilson Homes and Tees Valley Housing for 396 homes at Stobhill, on the southern edge of Morpeth.

The proposal offered a substantial amount of market housing in a commuter area with a housing land supply of less than two years, he found.  He also gave significant weight to the project’s direct employment and economic spin-off benefits and its contribution to affordable housing.

He accepted that the development would cause some minor harm the area’s landscape and character. However, also took into account the scheme’s contribution to alleviating flood risk and its ecological and public access benefits.  

Both schemes were recovered by Pickles for his own decision last winter. The North Tyneside case went to inquiry in June, followed by the Morpeth project a month later.

DCS Number (Wallsend): 200-003-065

DCS Number (Stobhill): 200-003-066

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