New poll '˜shows public support' for garden village scheme

Twice as many Northumberland residents recently polled by Ipsos MORI support the proposed Dissington Garden Village near Ponteland than oppose the scheme.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 09 December, 2017, 07:00
An artist's impression of the proposed garden village.

And in the Castle Morpeth area that includes the project, 35 per cent of residents polled were in favour, 22 per cent were against it and 44 per cent had no views either way.

If it receives the green light and necessary funding, the Dissington Garden Village initiative would see up to 2,000 new homes being built on land owned by the Dissington Estate.

The proposal also includes the creation of space and facilities for employment, commercial, agricultural and leisure uses.

Ipsos MORI conducted 503 telephone interviews with Northumberland residents aged 18 and over, including 101 in the Northumberland County Council Castle Morpeth area.

In Castle Morpeth, 35 per cent of survey participants prefer a new settlement, compared to 20 per cent who prefer extending existing towns and villages.

More than two thirds of them also said they are more likely to support a development that delivers major new infrastructure, has good road, rail and air connections and will have open green spaces.

The research has been commissioned by Lugano Property Group, which is promoting the Dissington Garden Village proposal.

Lugano chairman Richard Robson said: “This ground-breaking research shows that the vision for Dissington Garden Village is very much in tune with public opinion in the Castle Morpeth area.

“Residents clearly have a preference for well-planned new settlements close to Newcastle that deliver significant investment in infrastructure and affordable housing.

“The recent Conservative Government budget has increased national housing targets once again, reflecting the broad consensus that more homes are desperately needed for younger generations.

“The March decision by the county council to give Dissington the green light is therefore in tune with national policy as well as with local public opinion.”

Following the ‘minded to approve’ decision by the council’s strategic planning committee earlier this year, the proposal was sent to the Government’s National Planning Casework Unit for a decision on whether it would be called in by the Secretary of State.

But there is uncertainty about where the project stands at the moment because the new Conservative administration at County Hall withdrew the core strategy in July, questioning both its housing projections and whether proposed green belt development could be justified.

As a result, the council says the Dissington application will be sent back to councillors for re-determination.