Joy at flats bid decision

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A PROPOSAL to build new apartments in Ponteland has been turned down.

Galliford Try’s plans for a five-storey block containing 18 flats on the western part of a site at Mill House off West Road had been recommended for approval by officers, but the county council’s west area planning committee decided to refuse them at a recent meeting.

Members said that the scale, design and massing of the proposed building was inappropriate and the application had not sufficiently addressed parking and highway safety issues.

The site was previously developed with offices for Galliford Try, which have recently been demolished after the firm’s scheme for seven detached dwellings was given planning permission.

To the south of the site is the River Pont. Ponteland Park is located to the south east with the existing Scout Hut adjoining the application site boundary. The apartment block would measure 15 metres in height at its highest point and 13 metres in height towards West Road.

There were more than 50 objections from local residents and organisations.

Among those against the bid was the Friends of Ponteland Park. Its chair, Margaret Stainsby, said: “We’re very relieved with the decision of the planning committee.

“We had a number of concerns, one of which was that the proposed block of flats would dominate the street scene and be out of keeping with its surroundings.

“There would be a big impact on the local environment as the building would be sited very close to the river.

“Further removal of trees and vegetation would take place and the light and noise from the development would affect otters, bats, birds and other wildlife in the area. We find it hard to understand why Galliford Try doesn’t recognise that the building would have a harmful impact if it is approved.”

A Galliford Try spokesman said the company was disappointed with the decision given the approval recommendation from planning officers.

He added: “It is widely acknowledged that the proposed development will provide much-needed high-quality housing on previously developed land and will add value to the character and variety of housing available in the local area.

“Our proposals have taken into account comments received from members of the public. Whilst we are aware that there were some objections from local residents, we have also fielded a large number of enquiries from prospective purchasers, many of whom currently live within Ponteland and are very supportive of the plans.

“As a result, we will now be considering our options for this site.”