DEVELOPMENT: There’s not an insatiable need

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Northumberland County Council seems to think we have an insatiable need for houses in Ponteland, but what is required is simply the Objectively Assessed Need, derived from a Department for Communities and Local Government National Population Trends starting point — free from conjecture or surreptitious inflation.

The larger sites which are in progress now, or on the cards for Ponteland in the future, are: the former Care Village (38); Mill House (18); the former Police Headquarters (273); Unit 1 Meadowfield (30); The Orchards (14); Belleville House (24); Hellens Field (187); land west of Cheviot View/Rotary Way (400); the ‘Dissington Garden Village’ (2,000) and the Ponteland Library land (34).

This represents some 3,018 dwellings, of which 895 might be small flats or affordable housing.

Leaving out the first two sites, which are nearing completion, this still gives 197 dwellings to be built per year over the next 15 years.

But where all the jobs are to come from is, at the present time, pure conjecture.

Among the hype about the Dissington Garden Village project, we read that Northumberland County Council “will capture land values and fairly distribute the profits back into the local community”.

It will “produce beautiful and imaginatively designed buildings that respond to and reflect the local vernacular”.

And it will, apparently, “bestow strong community facilities within walkable neighbourhoods”.

But not in Ponteland village, it won’t.

Land-value profits from the library land will go straight back to the county council.

The four-storey blocks of flats proposed for the library land are barrack-like slabs, which are far too massive for the location, at odds with the surrounding streetscape and not remotely like the local vernacular in form or finish.

They have also been given inadequate car parking by the device of incorrectly describing it as “community parking”.

Add to that the fact that our real community facilities are being compromised and taken away from the centre of the village.

Residents should try to overcome their frustration with so many past consultations, which have been ignored, then make sure they read the latest (and last) Core Strategy Consultation, and put their views forward plainly so that the Inspector can understand our objections.

Philip Ham

Chairman

Ponteland Civic Society