Green light for homes despite flood fears

A SET of new properties in Ponteland has been given the green light, despite flooding concerns.

Objections to the proposal for seven houses to replace the offices owned by construction group Galliford Try, off West Road, came from local residents, Ponteland Town Council and Ponteland Civic Society, among others.

The opponents claimed there would be a number of negative consequences of the development, such as an increased flood risk, loss of employment, damage to wildlife and the potential loss of parking for users of the nearby scout hut, who are currently able to stay in the Galliford Try spaces during the evenings.

But Northumberland County Council’s West Area Planning Committee approved the application, with seven members in favour and two against.

It was told by officers that all planning policies were met and there were no objections from consultees, such as the highways department and the Environment Agency.

Coun Alan Mee, who spoke on behalf of the town council, said: “Two of these houses are to be raised on stilts. These two may not flood, but what of the area beneath?

“The Pont has a tight ‘u’ bend at this point so the water will spill over the embankment in time of heavy spate. This has been demonstrated a number of times in recent history.

“The embankment at this point requires some form of retaining wall to contain the river and halt erosion of the bank. Ponteland Park is under the custodianship of the town council. Who should finance this retaining wall? How would the council, or anyone else, access this area for repairs and maintenance should those two stilted houses be built in such close proximity to the river?

“With an estimated two to three cars per household, we have possibly 20-plus visiting cars at these seven proposed houses. Where are these cars going to park in times of snow and ice, or indeed, in times of flood?

“We all know where they will park of course — anywhere easy and convenient to themselves. Have highways given any consideration to those problems that will arise on the A696?”

In its planning submission, Galliford Try said the proposed development is sustainable and will enable the business branch to relocate as it has outgrown its current premises.

After the meeting, Coun Mee said the town council will consider writing to local MP Guy Opperman and the Prime Minister about the application and its approval.