Developer set to appeal as homes plan is rejected

The field north of Sunholme Drive in Wallsend that has a planning application submitted for it.
The field north of Sunholme Drive in Wallsend that has a planning application submitted for it.

Developers have criticised councillors who blocked plans to build 650 new homes on the outskirts of Wallsend.

Persimmon Homes submitted an outline application to build up to 425 homes on farmland near the Rising Sun Country Park and were seeking full approval to begin initial work on another 225 properties.

But despite planning officers at North Tyneside Council recommending the plans be approved, members of the planning committee rejected the application at their meeting on Tuesday, saying it would lead to loss of a buffer to the country park, was a visual intrusion and create traffic issues.

Officials at Persimmon hit out at the decision and have said they will lodge an appeal.

Peter Jordan said: “We are bitterly disappointed.

“I spent two-and-a-half years working very, very hard with local groups and officers.

“We had the recommendation for approval which ticked every single box yet councillors again decided they were the experts on certain matters and went against professional recommendations of their officers. I am very disappointed about it and the company intend to appeal the decision immediately.

“We didn’t want to take it to an appeal, we had been working hard to avoid that.”

Included in the outline plans for the 28.8-hectare site – at the corner of Station Road and Whitley Road in Benton, backing onto Sunholme Drive in Wallsend – were proposals for a medical centre and retail space, as well as the mix of two to six-bedroom houses.

Persimmon were also proposing to spend nearly £500,000 for children’s play spaces, allotments, health and road improvements.

However, the proposals sparked anger among local residents, with more than 1,000 objections sent to the council.

Two petitions signed by more than 760 people and 280 objection letters were handed to the council.

Holystone Action Group also objected to the proposals, saying that the land in question should be deemed ‘greenbelt land’.

Speaking after the meeting, Keith Page, of HAG, said: “It’s good news. We’re pleased the plans were objected but we expect Persimmon to appeal, and the way national policy is now, Eric Pickles will probably overturn the decision.

“We support development, this is just in the wrong place.”

He said the land was a key part of the wildlife corridor to the Rising Sun Country Park and building on it would strangle the park while there were issues around intrusion and they felt nearby schools would not be able to cope with increased numbers of children.

“There is an excess of school places in the borough but there is no problem in this area,” he added.