Proposals for a garden village in Northumberland

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

Councillors are to discuss proposals for a new garden village in Northumberland, which could see around 1,800 homes built near Ponteland.

A report to Northumberland County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday recommends members agree to the submission of an Expression of Interest to central government for support in developing proposals for a new garden village on land owned by The Dissington Estate, north of Darras Hall.

Earlier this year, the Government published a report entitled Locally Led Garden Villages, Town and Cities, seeking expressions of interest from local authorities to create new, sustainable and locally-led garden villages based on a number of key eligibility criteria including:

Proposals comprising of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes;

Garden villages must be new discrete settlements and not an urban extension of an existing town or village;

Expressions of Interest must demonstrate how a proposed garden village will be well-designed, built to a high quality, and attractive;

Schemes should be part of a wider strategy to secure the delivery of new housing to meet assessed need.

Since publication of the report, the council has been approached by The Dissington Estate who have an interest in developing a garden village in Northumberland and are working with the Council to prepare submission of an Expression of Interest.

The company has speculatively developed proposals for a garden village in this location of approximately 1,800 dwellings with associated local services, facilities and infrastructure provision.

While physically separate from Ponteland, the report to cabinet states the development would be capable of delivering ‘significant benefits’ to the town. These would include the provision of more than 500 affordable houses, delivery of a Ponteland Relief Road, enhanced community transport and infrastructure and delivery of a flood alleviation scheme for the town.

Coun Allan Hepple, cabinet member for economic growth, said: “While these proposals are in their earliest stages, garden villages form an important part of our drive to ensure the future prosperity of Northumberland and continued economic growth. For our county to grow and prosper, we must enable more jobs, more residents of working age and a greater choice in the housing market.

“The Government also requires us to deliver significant numbers of new houses towards its national target of a million new homes by 2020 and this would form part of our contribution to this.”

If the Dissington Estate proposal is selected as one of the 12 garden village projects the Government wishes to support, the council would work with them to progress the scheme.

The cabinet is also being asked to approve further modifications to the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy – which will require further public consultation – to allow the garden village proposal to be brought forward through the plan.

Richard Robson, chairman of The Dissington Estate, said the garden village would be close enough to Ponteland/Darras Hall to support existing shops and businesses, yet far enough away to be physically separate and a distinct village in its own right.

He added: “We are fully committed to working with Northumberland County Council on this unique opportunity.

“We want to involve the local community in developing the plans for Dissington Garden Village and hope to announce details of a comprehensive engagement programme in the autumn.

“We believe that part of the Estate would be perfect for a new garden village and the kind of local community facilities you might expect, such as a primary school and local shops, as well as sports and community facilities.

“Proposals will still have to go through the development plan process and be the subject of a planning application, hence there will be extensive consultation and rigorous examination.”