Better options exist, says rival developer

Lugano Group’s plans for up to 280 new homes in Ponteland’s green belt area have been criticised by a rival developer.

An appeal hearing has been taking place over the last few weeks after the proposals for a site at Birney Hill were turned down by Northumberland County Council’s west area planning committee in October 2013.

Among the third party objectors was Banks Group, which has earmarked green belt land at Clickemin Farm for housing.

Principal development planner Justin Hancock said Banks is waiting for the council’s core strategy process – the draft version includes deleting sections of the green belt in Ponteland, with Clickemin among the potential locations for this – to come to fruition as that is the preferred National Planning Policy Framework approach.

He added: “The appeal proposal is an ad hoc, unsustainable proposal which does not sit well within the extensive settlement assessment work undertaken by the county council, which was published in December.

“There are quite simply many better options than this site.

“I believe that exceptional circumstances exist which justify a review of the green belt around Ponteland, but such a review would never come to the conclusion that the appeal site should be allocated for development because of its impact upon the green belt and its isolation from essential facilities, its landscape impact and negative impact upon listed buildings.”