Plans for a major housing development have been thrown out by councillors to the delight of villagers fighting the scheme.
A resubmitted application by Barratt Homes North East, for 285 houses on land to the north of St Michael’s Avenue in New Hartley, went before Tuesday’s meeting of the county council’s strategic planning committee.
Despite 805 objections from 424 residents, as well as from Seaton Valley Parish Council, the scheme was recommended for approval by planning officers, which had caused dismay among protesters.
However, there was a sting in the tail as the bid was narrowly refused – by six votes to five – due to concerns over the standard of the affordable homes, flooding, highways safety, over-massing and that the development would not be sustainable.
Coun Trevor Thorne said: “I have sympathy with the people of New Hartley, but time and time again we are asked to listen to the advice of our officers. The advice has been given that this is a sustainable development and can be accommodated within that site.”
But Coun Andrew Tebbutt responded: “It doesn’t mean we have to sit her and take what’s said as gospel.
“I don’t think in my time on this particular committee that I have spent so much time going through a report and highlighting so many issues that are yet to be resolved. I’m not against development per se, I just think it’s much too big.
“I’m particularly concerned about the references to ‘below county standards’. I don’t know why we are being asked to approve something that is below our standards even if we cannot force the developer to adopt them.”
Chairman, Coun Paul Kelly, warned the refusal would likely be overturned on appeal.