Whessoe Parish Council has formally objected to Darlington Borough Council over the Borough Council’s proposed options for 380 new houses at Burtree Lane and North of the White Horse or 370 new houses North of the White Horse in its Local Plan: Revised Draft New Housing Development Policy.
The grounds for the Parish Council's objections to these two developments are as follows:
Objection 1 Impact on schools.
The two proposed housing development sites in the Parish were not mentioned in Darlington School Organisation Plan 2013-2017 which plans school places in the Borough. The Borough Council’s Making and Growing Places Document proposed that there would be an additional 130 houses in the Parish. The Housing Sites Allocation Plan now proposes 370 to 380 houses. depending on which site is selected
Whilst the provision of a primary school is welcome, Darlington Borough Council has not addressed the need for additional secondary school places which will result from the proposals.
Longfield Academy of Sport is at its full capacity and will be so for the foreseeable future.
Objection 2 impact on traffic Flows on the A167, Whessoe Road and Burtree Lane.
The proposed increase in the number of houses from the original 130 houses to 370 or 380 houses will increase the traffic problems in the area.
The Parish Council is concerned that the A167, Whessoe Road and Burtree Lane are already heavily congested with traffic at peak times in the early morning and in the late afternoon/early evening The Parish Council have asked for information on the projected increase in the number of vehicle movements which the two developments will be generated on Burtree Lane, Whessoe Road and the A167. This information has not been given to the Parish Council. The Parish Council has been informed by the Borough Council that this will not be known until any developments come forward and that a developer would need to produce a Transport Statement or Assessment to identify level of trip generation against existing junctions. Depending on the level of increase a developer would be expected to mitigate for any extra queuing that the developments create.
The Parish Council is not convinced that a developer will mitigate for traffic flows and easing congestion because of their interest in selling properties. The Parish Council therefore believes that the A167, Whessoe Road and Burtree Lane cannot take any additional traffic which would be generated by these developments in the Parish.
Objection 3 Access and Egress from the two sites
The Parish Council asked when consultation was being held on the Making and Growing Places
Document where will be the access and egress from and to the sites and if the existing roads i.e. Burtree Lane and the A167 in particular can cope with the additional traffic. The Borough Council indicated that the access and egress will be in Burtree Lane, but this was not certain. The Borough Council also stated that depending on the information provided in the Transport Statement/Assessment a different arrangement may produce less impact on the highway network, but this was not clear.
The Parish Council are concerned that the Transport Statement/Assessment has not been carried out and are asking Darlington Borough Council to carry this out and give the results to the Parish Council.
The Parish Council believe that whichever site is selected access to the site will on Burtree Lane and Whessoe Road which are both narrow roads and they are heavily congested at peak times in the early morning and in the late afternoon/early evening. Access cannot be on the A167 which is a major link road between the A1 and the A66 and has large numbers of traffic movements throughout the day and evening.
A recent serious accident at the corner of Whessoe Road and Burtree Lane has proved that the junction is not suitable for the expected additional traffic flow.
Objection 4 Environmental Impact
The Parish Council is concerned about the loss of the existing green fields, the loss of habitats for animals and species and the overcrowding of housing developments in the area which will result from the proposed housing sites. The Parish Council suspect that great crested newts are present in the area.
Pylons exist on both sites and it is not clear what the developers intentions are in respect of the pylons.
The Parish Council also has concerns about the possibility of flooding on both sites.
Objection 5 Loss of the rural aspect of this part of the Parish
The proposed housing development on Burtree Lane and North of the White Horse will take away the green wedge and rural aspect between Burtree Lane and the A167. It will take away the rural views from the properties on the eastern side of the A167. The green wedge and rural aspect will also be taken away if housing is developed along Burtree Lane. This site will virtually double the size of Harrowgate Farm.
The Parish Council fully endorses and supports residents objections to the two housing developments in the Parish.