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03 June 2015
Parish Council says no to proposed housing on Berrymead Farm

The Parish Council has made the following submission to developers who are proposing to build up to 470 houses on Berrymead Farm.

Consideration was given at the Annual Parish Meeting on the 28th May, 2015 to the Consortium’s proposals to build up to 470 houses on Berrymead Farm in Whessoe Parish.  The meeting was attended by 33 residents who all expressed their discontent about the proposals.  Having considered the views of residents, the Parish Council wish to support them and formally object to the Consortium’s proposals. 

The grounds for making its objections are as follows:

 Objection 1.   Flooding

 A beck runs across the site in the next field to the north of Whessoe Parish Hall.  A drainage pipe was installed to drain surplus rainwater from the fields into the beck which flows into the River Skerne.  The beck cannot take the surplus water consequently the land floods and surplus water flows under the A167 into fields on the Glebe Estate.  The Parish Council has received information from residents that when heavy rainfall occurs water flows across the A167 from the Berrymead Farm land into the garage at Harrowgate Village which, together with neighbouring properties,  is lower than the road.  Consequently the residents and adjoining fields on the eastern side of the A167 suffer flooding.  Residents are concerned that the three SUD ponds close to the A167 will not be effective In drawing water away from the site and consider that flooding of the properties and agricultural land on eastern side of the A167 will be more likely because they are lower than the A167 and the Berrymead Farm land on the western side of the A167.

 Objection 2.   Disturbance and Anti social behaviour

 The resident of 51, Beaumont Hill has raised concerns with the Parish Council that the proposed publicly accessible open space (Number 5 on the Master Plan) and the landscaping buffer (Number 2 on the Master Plan) to the north and west of his property will result in unacceptable nuisance and disturbance to the resident and his family being created by large numbers of people assembling in these two locations in the evening and at weekends.  The Parish Council would like to see the comments of the Police on the plans for the public open space and the landscaping buffer and their potential impact on the resident living in 51, Beaumont Hill.

 Objection 3.  Impact on traffic Flows on the A167, Whessoe Road and Burtree Lane.

The proposed increase in the number of houses from the original 80 houses in 2013 to 370 houses in 2014 to up to 470 in 2015 will substantially increase traffic congestion on the roads in the Parish.

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 additional traffic generated from and to the Berrymead Farm will have a significant impact on traffic on the already congested A167, Burtree Lane and Whessoe Road at peak periods in the early morning and late afternoon/early evening. 

 When proposals were made in the Draft Making and Growing Places Local Plan in 2014 for developing this site and the site on Burtree Lane for housing the Parish Council asked Darlington Borough Council for information on the projected increase in the number of vehicle movements which the two developments will generate 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 assessed traffic modelling from the Consortium for the Berrymead Farm site suggests circa 375 vehicles in any given period. Looking at Harrowgate Farm each residence has typically 2 cars per household so with a now proposed 470 houses.  The Parish Council is suggesting a figure in the region of 650-750 vehicle movement in any given period which is considerably more than the traffic modelling and will be a further serious impact on already congested roads.

Two roundabouts are to be built one onto North Rd in the vicinity of the Parish Hall and the second is to be located at the bottom of Cambourne Drive on Burtree Lane. Access from the proposed Berrymead Farm development onto the A167 will be difficult in the morning especially from 7.30 p.m. to 9.30 a.m. due to the severe traffic congestion on this road because it is a link road between the A1 and the A66 to Teesside.   Burtree Lane is similarly congested in the morning from 7.30 p.m. to 9.30 a.m. because of traffic from Harrowgate Farm and through traffic from the A1 using this road as an alternative to the A167. Similarly Whessoe Road has severe traffic congestion at these times in the morning which is generated from the A1 and parents and carers taking their children to school and commuters.

There is a shared access to numbers 1 and 3 Camborne Drive immediately adjacent to the junction of Camborne Drive and Burtree Lane.  Access to and egress from these properties will be significantly affected by the proposed roundabout at this junction.

Additional traffic will also be generated by the proposed primary school on Burtree Lane. 

The Parish Council has not seen any evidence as to how the traffic flow will be mitigated and traffic flows and congestion eased on the A167, Burtree Lane and Whessoe Road as a result of the Berrymead Farm development.    Traffic calming has been suggested but the Parish Council has not seen details of any traffic calming measures.

The Parish Council therefore believes that the A167, Whessoe Road and Burtree Lane cannot take any additional traffic which would be generated by the Berrymead Farm development.

In addition, residents living alongside the A167 in Harrowgate Village and Beaumont Hill have expressed concerns to the Parish Council about the proposed road layout and the ability to turn right into their properties if they are travelling north on the A167 from Darlington which will mean that that they will be crossing two lanes of oncoming traffic which they consider to be unsafe and dangerous.

Residents living alongside the A167 in Harrowgate Village, Beaumont Hill and North Road are concerned that the proposed road improvements and widening will take away the block paving in front of their properties which was designed for additional off road parking.  Residents and the Parish Council are strongly against any removal of the block paving in Harrowgate Village and Beaumont Hill on the eastern side of the A167.

Objection 4.    Impact on schools.

The proposals will have a serious impact on the schools and academy in the area and it is not clear where children and young people will go for their primary and secondary education.

When proposals were made in 2013 for housing developments Darlington Borough Council accepted the Parish Council’s submission that there would be a need for a new primary school to serve the sites and a primary school along Burtree Lane was to be built.  The Parish Council note that the present development plans from the Consortium states that land is being reserved for ‘school or future development’ and are deeply concerned that the primary school may not be built on the site.  The Parish Council is insisting that a primary school be built on this site because the existing primary schools in the area do not and will not have sufficient places to accommodate the number of children from the proposed Berrymead Farm development.

The nearest secondary school is Longfield Academy of Sport which is at its full capacity and will be so for the foreseeable future.  The Parish Council have not been advised what secondary education will be available for children from the new development, including what is realistic and what has been agreed.

Objection 5.     Access to Medical Services

Residents have expressed concerns to the Parish Council that existing G.P. practices in Darlington have full patient lists and do not have the capacity to take additional patients from the proposed Berrymead Farm site which will potentially result in an additional 1,000 patients.  The Parish Council have not seen any plans for providing medical services to residents on the Berrymead Farm site.

Objection 6.   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 that will result from the proposed housing sites.  The Parish Council suspects that great crested newts and bats are present in the area.

Pylons exist on the site and it is not clear what the Consortium’s intentions are in respect of the pylons.

Objection 7.      Loss of the rural aspect of this part of the Parish

The proposed Berrymead Farm development will take away pasture land and the rural aspect between Burtree Lane and the A167. It will take away the rural views from the properties on the eastern and western sides of the A167 which they value. 

The Parish Council is asking the Consortium to keep it fully informed of their future intentions so that the Parish Council can keep residents in the Parish fully informed.

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