New housing scheme does nothing to meet Barnard Castle's needs, say town councillors

The Advertiser Series: New housing scheme does nothing to meet Barnard Castle's needs, say town councillors New housing scheme does nothing to meet Barnard Castle's needs, say town councillors

TOWN councillors are being urged to reject plans for a major housing scheme at a special meeting on Monday.

Opponents say the 64 properties proposed for land south of Green Lane, Barnard Castle, do nothing to help first time buyers or the town's ageing population.

The scheme is earmarked for land which forms part of the Barnard Castle School estate, and the proceeds from the housing development will be used to fund a new sixth form centre at the campus.

A special meeting of Barnard Castle Town Council will be held at Green Lane Primary School to discuss the scheme after two members – Couns Thom Robinson and Tom Deacon – said it was too important to be left to the group's planning committee.

Under the plans, the estate would include 17 two-bed properties, 12 three-bed homes and 35 four-bed houses.

However, only three of the two-bed properties would be offered to a housing association as affordable homes for rent.

Coun Robinson said this was simply unacceptable.

“Barnard Castle has a dwindling number of young people and a disproportionately growing elderly group.

“A development as proposed accounts for neither the growing need for housing for the over-55s nor the need for first time buyer housing.”

Coun Robinson said at least 30 per cent of the properties should be made available for affordable housing, in line with another development currently being built on the outskirts of the town.

Coun John Watson, who has prepared a working document into the scheme for fellow councillors, also criticises the affordable housing allocation as “derisory.”

Both Coun Robinson and Coun Watson voice fears of traffic chaos if the new estate goes ahead as proposed.

Coun Watson says additional traffic will adversely affect nearby Victoria Road, Queen Street and Birch Road, which are already “problematic” areas.

It will also heighten problems at the junction of Victoria Road and the A67 main road through Barnard Castle, he says.

Coun Robinson said complaints about the road network in the area were made regularly to town councillors and local police.

“The development in its current form will exacerbate this situation to the direct detriment of people's lives,” he said.

The special meeting starts at 6pm and is open to the public, following which the town council's comments will be submitted to Durham County Council's planning department and taken into consideration before a recommendation on whether to approve the scheme or not is made.

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