Villagers hope to 'Save West Rainton' from 150 new homes

The Advertiser Series: Michael Johnson (in white shirt, centre) with villagers who are opposed to building at West Rainton. Michael Johnson (in white shirt, centre) with villagers who are opposed to building at West Rainton.

RESIDENTS say they are fighting to “Save West Rainton” from plans to build 150 homes in the village.

Tees Valley Housing (TVH) wants to develop open countryside off Station Road.

But villagers have launched a Save West Rainton campaign: organising leaflet drops, putting up large banners and starting a Facebook page.

Leaders say the development would be far too big, the extra traffic would overwhelm the village and the junction with the dual carriageway A690 and local services would not cope.

Val Henderson, a West Rainton resident for 30 years, said: “The traffic would be dreadful.

“In the mornings the traffic already has to queue down Station Road so people can’t get off their drives.

“The development wouldn’t benefit the village, it would be a dormitory estate.”

The campaign has the backing of West Rainton Parish Council.

Vice-chairman Mark Gilbank said: “We completely disagree with the extra housing.

“The infrastructure of the village couldn’t take it, it would be dangerous.”

The scheme would involve putting traffic lights on the A690 junction.

TVH first announced its proposals last summer, when it wanted to build 250 homes, each with two to five bedrooms, plus shops.

The Middlesbrough-based social landlord has now scaled back its plans to 150 homes and a “small scale community hub”.

Rodger Till, the firm’s head of land and partnerships, said it had taken into account residents’ comments and “dramatically” reduced the number of homes proposed.

He said the new junction would ensure the road network, which he claimed residents had told TVR was dangerous, was “capable of accommodating any additional traffic” and would “significantly improve road safety”.

“We are working closely with providers of local amenities to help them expand their services and the additional houses will help support existing businesses in the village.

“We also want to bring new facilities to West Rainton and believe that our development will help deliver a sustainable community that has the facilities it needs to thrive long into the future,” Mr Till added.

The application is expected to go before a Durham County Council planning committee in coming months.

Comments (17)

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10:29am Sat 19 Apr 14

karenah73 says...

I'm afraid if going ahead with the housing development means we get traffic lights at the A690 junction then I say get building! That junction is horrendous and should of had a roundabout or lights on it years ago.
I'm afraid if going ahead with the housing development means we get traffic lights at the A690 junction then I say get building! That junction is horrendous and should of had a roundabout or lights on it years ago. karenah73
  • Score: 3

11:42am Sat 19 Apr 14

David Lacey says...

I couldn't agree more. The junction is absolutely lethal. If the developers are required to construct a light controlled roundabout as a condition of approval then all objections are off.
I couldn't agree more. The junction is absolutely lethal. If the developers are required to construct a light controlled roundabout as a condition of approval then all objections are off. David Lacey
  • Score: -2

1:43pm Sat 19 Apr 14

sensible says...

This has been on the cards for years. I seem to remember the Council installing the ductwork for the traffic lights under the junction the last time they resurfaced it.
This has been on the cards for years. I seem to remember the Council installing the ductwork for the traffic lights under the junction the last time they resurfaced it. sensible
  • Score: 5

9:36pm Sat 19 Apr 14

ceddesfeld says...

“The development wouldn’t benefit the village, it would be a dormitory estate.”

Perhaps the people complaining about this would like to own up to what proportion of them live and work in West Rainton now?

Fortunately the UK planning system can see through this type of narow self-interest.

You buy a house, not a view.
“The development wouldn’t benefit the village, it would be a dormitory estate.” Perhaps the people complaining about this would like to own up to what proportion of them live and work in West Rainton now? Fortunately the UK planning system can see through this type of narow self-interest. You buy a house, not a view. ceddesfeld
  • Score: -4

10:19pm Sat 19 Apr 14

bambara says...

Nimbies, the country needs houses, and this is a good place to put them, with good communications links.
Nimbies, the country needs houses, and this is a good place to put them, with good communications links. bambara
  • Score: 0

12:33am Mon 21 Apr 14

PJ Chingford says...

Pathetic!
Pathetic! PJ Chingford
  • Score: -12

12:58pm Mon 21 Apr 14

Martin Greener says...

The proposed housing development, together with the proposed open cast mine on the other side of the road, would have a devastating impact on West Rainton. Local amenities are already overburdened. An influx of up to 360 new residents would overwhelm the local nursery, school, GP surgery, care home and cemetery. The delevoper claims that it is “working closely with providers of local amenities to help them expand their services", but in downsizing its plans from 250 to 150 houses it has withdrawn its initial promise to invest in community amenities such as the school.
The proposed housing development, together with the proposed open cast mine on the other side of the road, would have a devastating impact on West Rainton. Local amenities are already overburdened. An influx of up to 360 new residents would overwhelm the local nursery, school, GP surgery, care home and cemetery. The delevoper claims that it is “working closely with providers of local amenities to help them expand their services", but in downsizing its plans from 250 to 150 houses it has withdrawn its initial promise to invest in community amenities such as the school. Martin Greener
  • Score: 2

9:48pm Mon 21 Apr 14

silvaS says...

I'm a resident of West Rainton and I am against the building of 150 houses on arable farm land, yes we need houses but there are plenty of brown field sites that are available to be developed, we also need food for our growing population and this narrow minded attitude of building on farm land won't help.
While I am against the development I am not against the traffic lights on the A690 as this problem junction should be dealt with by the Council with or without the 150 houses. The problem for the people of West Rainton will be the extra traffic created by the development passing through the village on roads which are causing major problems now.
Up to now there have been over 300 objections to this development of which about 95% have come from the people of West Rainton.
I'm a resident of West Rainton and I am against the building of 150 houses on arable farm land, yes we need houses but there are plenty of brown field sites that are available to be developed, we also need food for our growing population and this narrow minded attitude of building on farm land won't help. While I am against the development I am not against the traffic lights on the A690 as this problem junction should be dealt with by the Council with or without the 150 houses. The problem for the people of West Rainton will be the extra traffic created by the development passing through the village on roads which are causing major problems now. Up to now there have been over 300 objections to this development of which about 95% have come from the people of West Rainton. silvaS
  • Score: -1

10:15pm Mon 21 Apr 14

Gusbus says...

What this story doesn't tell you - and what some of the posters on here don't realise - is that plans to install traffic lights at this junction have twice been rejected in the past along with plans to build houses on the same site. As far back as 1991 - when there were fewer cars on the road - plans for 150 houses on this site were scrapped when planners made it a condition of approval that the developers built a grade separated junction to improve access to and from the A690. Similarly traffic lights were again deemed inadequate when plans for a larger estate were lodged and rejected in 2000. I agree that the junction is currently not up to the job but the powers that be have twice decided that traffic lights are inadequate. Suggesting traffic lights are the answer now, with the volume of traffic on the road today is nonsense. When you can't turn out of West Rainton towards Durham from any of its 3 junctions because the lights mean queuing traffic on the A690 is blocking your path, then you might realise that perhaps the planners in the past were right. Similarly you might think the same when cars are cutting through the village towards Leamside to try and avoid the lights altogether. This smacks of wanting a cheap solution to a much bigger problem. There are many reasons to oppose this development of which this is one of the main ones.
What this story doesn't tell you - and what some of the posters on here don't realise - is that plans to install traffic lights at this junction have twice been rejected in the past along with plans to build houses on the same site. As far back as 1991 - when there were fewer cars on the road - plans for 150 houses on this site were scrapped when planners made it a condition of approval that the developers built a grade separated junction to improve access to and from the A690. Similarly traffic lights were again deemed inadequate when plans for a larger estate were lodged and rejected in 2000. I agree that the junction is currently not up to the job but the powers that be have twice decided that traffic lights are inadequate. Suggesting traffic lights are the answer now, with the volume of traffic on the road today is nonsense. When you can't turn out of West Rainton towards Durham from any of its 3 junctions because the lights mean queuing traffic on the A690 is blocking your path, then you might realise that perhaps the planners in the past were right. Similarly you might think the same when cars are cutting through the village towards Leamside to try and avoid the lights altogether. This smacks of wanting a cheap solution to a much bigger problem. There are many reasons to oppose this development of which this is one of the main ones. Gusbus
  • Score: 1

8:34am Tue 22 Apr 14

James Marsland says...

In 2002 Gerry Steinberg MP opposed plans to build houses on this site, stating:

"The large increase in the number of houses will have a significant impact on the village and traffic levels. The proposal will extend the boundary of West Rainton and drastically alter the character of the village for ever. The land in question is agricultural land that would have been included in Durham's greenbelt, but for outline planning permission granted by a Planning Inspector in 1991. If the development proceeds, there will be no defensible barrier along the edge of the village, paving the way for the further development of hundreds of houses. When the Planning Inspector found in favour of plans to build 150 houses more than 10 years ago, he stipulated the developer must build a grade-separated junction, i.e. flyover or underpass, on the nearby A690 road for traffic access to and from the enlarged village. If a flyover or underpass was essential in 1991, the volume of traffic makes it absolutely crucial today. Traffic lights may be cheaper for the developer, but are not an acceptable alternative to those who will have to live with the consequences of the proposal. I am also genuinely concerned that a significant amount of traffic will divert through the village to avoid the traffic lights, providing an additional negative impact on the village and its residents."
In 2002 Gerry Steinberg MP opposed plans to build houses on this site, stating: "The large increase in the number of houses will have a significant impact on the village and traffic levels. The proposal will extend the boundary of West Rainton and drastically alter the character of the village for ever. The land in question is agricultural land that would have been included in Durham's greenbelt, but for outline planning permission granted by a Planning Inspector in 1991. If the development proceeds, there will be no defensible barrier along the edge of the village, paving the way for the further development of hundreds of houses. When the Planning Inspector found in favour of plans to build 150 houses more than 10 years ago, he stipulated the developer must build a grade-separated junction, i.e. flyover or underpass, on the nearby A690 road for traffic access to and from the enlarged village. If a flyover or underpass was essential in 1991, the volume of traffic makes it absolutely crucial today. Traffic lights may be cheaper for the developer, but are not an acceptable alternative to those who will have to live with the consequences of the proposal. I am also genuinely concerned that a significant amount of traffic will divert through the village to avoid the traffic lights, providing an additional negative impact on the village and its residents." James Marsland
  • Score: 3

1:24pm Tue 22 Apr 14

aeg1985 says...

Do you actually live in West Rainton? I think it would be a travesty if the development went ahead, can you imagine if it does and they implement traffic lights, traffic will be queuing up all over. I'm pretty sure this proposal was scrapped by the highways agency anyways. Yet again, another "claim" made by the TVH. If anything, low Station Road is what should be looked at. It's a death trap!
Do you actually live in West Rainton? I think it would be a travesty if the development went ahead, can you imagine if it does and they implement traffic lights, traffic will be queuing up all over. I'm pretty sure this proposal was scrapped by the highways agency anyways. Yet again, another "claim" made by the TVH. If anything, low Station Road is what should be looked at. It's a death trap! aeg1985
  • Score: 2

1:28pm Tue 22 Apr 14

aeg1985 says...

David Lacey wrote:
I couldn't agree more. The junction is absolutely lethal. If the developers are required to construct a light controlled roundabout as a condition of approval then all objections are off.
I bet you won't be saying that if they go ahead and you're stuck in a however long minute queue waiting to get out. Anyways, the proposal for traffic lights has been scrapped in the past, I doubt they'd get the go ahead to do this if the development went ahead. It's their way of swinging people not to object...
[quote][p][bold]David Lacey[/bold] wrote: I couldn't agree more. The junction is absolutely lethal. If the developers are required to construct a light controlled roundabout as a condition of approval then all objections are off.[/p][/quote]I bet you won't be saying that if they go ahead and you're stuck in a however long minute queue waiting to get out. Anyways, the proposal for traffic lights has been scrapped in the past, I doubt they'd get the go ahead to do this if the development went ahead. It's their way of swinging people not to object... aeg1985
  • Score: 1

1:32pm Tue 22 Apr 14

aeg1985 says...

ceddesfeld wrote:
“The development wouldn’t benefit the village, it would be a dormitory estate.”

Perhaps the people complaining about this would like to own up to what proportion of them live and work in West Rainton now?

Fortunately the UK planning system can see through this type of narow self-interest.

You buy a house, not a view.
I live in and work in West Rainton and I can assure you we're backing this altogether.

You say you buy a house, not a view...rubbish! So if you had a lovely looking house overlooking a building site, a waste land, etc you'd still buy it? I think not. West Rainton is known for its heritage views, you buy a house and what you see out of the window. Why does the value of so many houses fluctuate due to it's views if I'm not right?
[quote][p][bold]ceddesfeld[/bold] wrote: “The development wouldn’t benefit the village, it would be a dormitory estate.” Perhaps the people complaining about this would like to own up to what proportion of them live and work in West Rainton now? Fortunately the UK planning system can see through this type of narow self-interest. You buy a house, not a view.[/p][/quote]I live in and work in West Rainton and I can assure you we're backing this altogether. You say you buy a house, not a view...rubbish! So if you had a lovely looking house overlooking a building site, a waste land, etc you'd still buy it? I think not. West Rainton is known for its heritage views, you buy a house and what you see out of the window. Why does the value of so many houses fluctuate due to it's views if I'm not right? aeg1985
  • Score: 0

4:52pm Tue 22 Apr 14

silvaS says...

bambara wrote:
Nimbies, the country needs houses, and this is a good place to put them, with good communications links.
Tell you what why don't they build them in YOUR back yard eh!
No thought not.
[quote][p][bold]bambara[/bold] wrote: Nimbies, the country needs houses, and this is a good place to put them, with good communications links.[/p][/quote]Tell you what why don't they build them in YOUR back yard eh! No thought not. silvaS
  • Score: 0

11:39pm Wed 23 Apr 14

socksalesman says...

west rainton, stop being so bloody snooty. belmont has traffic controlled junctions now (and for perhaps the past 15 years) and I barely even think about the lights as I pass through them...

narrow minded self-interest sums it up... "what?! housing provision, primary industries?! in WEST RAINTON? but this is west rainton! you're not allowed to change it. make somewhere else busy and affect views somewhere else. just not here"...

as for comments that the local cemetery would not cope, something about that remark is nothing short of hilarious in scraping the barrel for negatives..., but the other comments are so backward, about services not coping - that is the good thing about increased populations and population diversity in an area - improved provisions, council investment, business investment, infrastructure investment.
more customers in an area = more shops open... public services are more protected, transport links are prioritised more favourably...

and bloody hell, the GP surgery issue is a great one... the best thing that could happen is that woodland view gets a competing surgery in the area, that makes it actually try with the whole customer service thing that's become conventional since 30 years ago when they last gave the subject a glancing though.

basically (and this is especially for your SilvaS) - its not your back yard. its not your property. its near where you live, and yes you have a say. but building houses is not extreme or unreasonable as development ideas go. and the idea that the farming issue comes into play is total nonsense. the agriculture sector in the UK is tiny and barely significant. it should be of bigger concern to you if you found out an office that does graphic design and computer games was going to have to be shut down than a farm. plus, I can't help feeling that the said owner of this arable land is pretty much tearing the cheque out the developers hands.

you cant pretend to be a twee little rural hamlet forever :)
west rainton, stop being so bloody snooty. belmont has traffic controlled junctions now (and for perhaps the past 15 years) and I barely even think about the lights as I pass through them... narrow minded self-interest sums it up... "what?! housing provision, primary industries?! in WEST RAINTON? but this is west rainton! you're not allowed to change it. make somewhere else busy and affect views somewhere else. just not here"... as for comments that the local cemetery would not cope, something about that remark is nothing short of hilarious in scraping the barrel for negatives..., but the other comments are so backward, about services not coping - that is the good thing about increased populations and population diversity in an area - improved provisions, council investment, business investment, infrastructure investment. more customers in an area = more shops open... public services are more protected, transport links are prioritised more favourably... and bloody hell, the GP surgery issue is a great one... the best thing that could happen is that woodland view gets a competing surgery in the area, that makes it actually try with the whole customer service thing that's become conventional since 30 years ago when they last gave the subject a glancing though. basically (and this is especially for your SilvaS) - its not your back yard. its not your property. its near where you live, and yes you have a say. but building houses is not extreme or unreasonable as development ideas go. and the idea that the farming issue comes into play is total nonsense. the agriculture sector in the UK is tiny and barely significant. it should be of bigger concern to you if you found out an office that does graphic design and computer games was going to have to be shut down than a farm. plus, I can't help feeling that the said owner of this arable land is pretty much tearing the cheque out the developers hands. you cant pretend to be a twee little rural hamlet forever :) socksalesman
  • Score: 3

6:01pm Fri 25 Apr 14

James Marsland says...

In revising the proposal, the developer has withdrawn its pledge of £150,000 to support the school. Nathaniel Lichfield's own survey from the consultation event in August 2013 revealed that 79% of local residents are opposed to the development.
In revising the proposal, the developer has withdrawn its pledge of £150,000 to support the school. Nathaniel Lichfield's own survey from the consultation event in August 2013 revealed that 79% of local residents are opposed to the development. James Marsland
  • Score: 0

8:48am Fri 2 May 14

Peter M Hall says...

There must be a lot of 'nimbies' in Tees Valley, or Tees Valley Housing wouldn't be looking for land up here.
There must be a lot of 'nimbies' in Tees Valley, or Tees Valley Housing wouldn't be looking for land up here. Peter M Hall
  • Score: 1

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