The developer behind the proposals to build 400 homes on land next to Flatts Lane Woodland Country Park has now submitted the formal planning application to Redcar & Cleveland Planning Committee and residents have until 24th June 2016 to submit comments.
The application is available for viewing here.
Over 1700 people have signed the petition so far which demonstrates the clear strength of feeling in the community against this development on our beloved hills. However, whilst the petition is important, it is not enough to demonstrate the opposition of the local community to this development.
Under the planning system, we need as many people as possible to submit individual, formal objections to the planning committee.
The committee have to make decisions according to planning law so the strongest points to make are those on the environmental impact. For example:
- This is a green field site directly next to Flatts Lane Country Park and is part of an important wildlife habitat home to animals which include deer and Great Crested Newts.
- The open green space is an important buffer zone separating the Country Park from the A174 and the urban development of Teesside beyond.
- The A174 is a long established boundary to large scale housing development and this barrier must not be breached, otherwise there could be a domino effect resulting in housing all the way along the hillside
Other issues such as the pressure on local infrastructure like schools, doctors surgeries and the extra traffic congestion are still important to mention, but in terms of planning guidelines these are secondary to the above.
I have copied my objection letter below for your information.
To submit your own comments you can either click on the link to the council site and then on the "Comment on this application" button.
Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Development Management Section, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Redcar and Cleveland House, Kirkleatham Street, Redcar, Yorkshire TS10 1RT
Remember to include your name, address, contact details and the Planning Application Reference number.
Thanks once again for your support and please make sure you submit an objection before the consultation process closes.
I will also be submitting the petition to the council shortly.
COPY OF PLANNING OBJECTION
31st May 2016
Dear Sir/ Madam,
Re: OBJECTION TO PLANNING APPLICATION (R/2016/0326/OOM)
I submit this objection as the Member of Parliament for Redcar and as a resident of Redcar & Cleveland Borough.
I believe housing development on this site would have a detrimental impact on the neighbouring Flatts Lane Woodland Country Park and would be a visual blot on the landscape of Eston Hills. My reasons are as follows:
1) The site in question is open green land, directly adjacent to the Woodland Country Park. The whole area is an important wildlife habitat, home to many animals including Roe Deer who are often seen grazing on the land. Even the documents submitted by the applicant regarding the environmental and wild life statement, in several sections, identify threats to local colonies of wild life, including colonies of Great Crested Newts. The open countryside between the park and the motorway is vital to the conserving this wildlife and maintaining the integrity of the woodland.
Building 400 houses in the immediate vicinity of the park, with the consequential pressures that come with such development like traffic, would have a disastrous impact on the environment here. These effects would not be negated by the investment into the park being promised by the developer because urban development by its very nature is disruptive and the consequential pressures permanent.
As well as being a wildlife habitat, the area is well used by dog walkers and the public, offering a rural haven of open space away from urbanised Teesside. Housing development here is a threat to a much valued community space.
2) The A174 Parkway is long established as a natural barrier to housing development, separating the rural Eston Hills and country park from the urban settlements of Teesside. Since the Teesside Survey and Plan of 1968, County level structure plans, successive local plans, the Regional Spatial Strategy and the existing Local Development Framework, the A174 has been a recognised and defined boundary to large scale housing development. This principle must be respected as breaching it could open the floodgates for more development along the hillside down to Wilton Village - Teesside's "Green Spine".
The recent decision by the Government Inspectorate to approve development at Longbank Farm at Ormesby flew in the face of the Council planning committee and substantial objections from the local community. When you consider the Ormesby development, further housing development in this location would have a huge negative impact on the environment of the whole of the Eston Hills.
Moreover, due to the elevation of the site, I believe development here would be a visual blot on the landscape of the Northern fringe of the Eston Hills. The hillside is appreciated and valued by residents across Teesside and is a significant environmental feature of the area. Housing development higher than the A174 will severely erode the distinctiveness of Eston Hills.
3) Whilst I recognise the need for more housing in the Borough to meet the needs of a growing population, there are many sites, especially brownfield sites which are much more appropriate for development. Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s Local Plan, which is currently out for consultation, does not designate this site for development. In fact, the land has never been part of any local plan or local development framework for our urban area, with development ending at the A174. It is possible for the housing needs of the Borough to be met without building on open countryside on our hillside.
In addition, to the reasons outlined above, I also have concerns about the impact of this development on the existing infrastructure in the area. 400 houses would generate in excess of 1000 residents, which would increase the pressures on schools, doctor’s surgeries, and the local road infrastructure.
In conclusion, I believe this site is not appropriate for development and the proposals would have a detrimental impact on the local environment, the integrity of Flatts Lane Woodland Country Park, and would be a threat to the unique character of Eston Hills.
I would also refer to the online petition against the development which, at the time of writing, has 1,709 signatures, clearly demonstrating the strength of opposition in the local community to this development.
Lastly, should the planning application be subsequently rejected by the Council Planning Committee and the applicant exercises the right to appeal, I would ask that due to the significance of the application to the overall area of the Eston Hills that any such appeal should be by public inquiry and not by written representations.
Member of Parliament for Redcar
10 Milbank Terrace, Redcar, TS10 1ED