Financial support from agency for garden village bid

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

Northumberland County Council has received a £75,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to support the development of the proposed Dissington Garden Village project.

It was not among the initial list of 14 garden villages announced by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) earlier this year.

But in their report to a meeting of the council’s strategic planning committee last month, planning officers included a note of optimism which said the DCLG and HCA have indicated that they are supportive of the scheme.

If it gets the green light to go ahead, up to 2,000 dwellings would be built on the land north and west of Darras Hall and space/facilities would be created for employment, commercial, agricultural and leisure uses.

The planning committee approved the planning application for it by a majority vote, despite objections from hundreds of residents.

Both supporters and opponents are now waiting to hear if Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, wishes to call-in the application by Lugano Dissington Estate Limited for his own determination.

The grant from the HCA’s Capacity Fund will assist with the design thinking and delivery strategy aspects of the project.

County council chief executive Steven Mason said: “We are delighted that this exceptional project has been recognised nationally and for the funds that would enable us to take it forward.

“The allocation of these funds is a clear vote of confidence in our shared ambitions to make Dissington Garden Village a great place and a flagship project for the North East.”

In addition, the HCA has offered the council further technical and ‘critical friend’ support as well as an invitation to join the national Garden Villages Forum to share good practice.

Lugano chairman Richard Robson said: “This is a very positive step forward for the project and we are thrilled that the scheme has been recognised nationally as worthy of support.

“It is an excellent example of a public/private sector partnership that would result in a new village community that Northumberland can be proud of and which delivers not only an exceptional place to live, but very significant infrastructure improvements to benefit the wider area.”