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Hundreds of houses proposed for Barnard Castle in County Durham Plan
HUNDREDS of new houses are being planned for Barnard Castle – but little if any thought has been given to how new developments will affect the town's already choked roads.
That was the claim following a presentation on how the new County Durham Plan would change life in the town.
Barnard Castle Town Council members were told the plan envisages the construction of 365 new houses on seven sites by 2030.
If the plan is agreed, there would also be an extension to Harmire Industrial Park and Stainton Grove Industrial Estate, plus a new business park created at Shaw Bank.
This prompted Counc Thom Robinson to say: “There are a lot of sites to build business and housing on in the town but no explanation dealing with traffic coming from this.
“You want to increase the volume of traffic in the town and you expect the town centre to cope with it.”
Coun John Watson added: “Our shopping centre is under pressure because we are feeding all the traffic through it.
“I would like an assurance that the bypass corridor will be preserved in the plan.”
Stuart Carter, of Durham County Council's spacial policy team, told members the traffic situation would be looked at as part of ongoing work for the County Durham Plan.
He added that the county's highways team was looking into the issue of a relief road or bypass.
Coun Tony Cooke pointed out that if land at Shaw Bank was to become a business park, the town would lose its dedicated site for travellers.
He said: “If we should lose Shaw Bank and are not offered something else, the travellers will park where they want in the town.”
Coun Cooke said a travellers' site was 'essential' for Barnard Castle and deputy mayor, Coun John Blissett, added: “The travellers' site is a safety valve for the town.”
Mr Carter agreed that a replacement site for travellers would have to be found if the Shaw Bank scheme went ahead.
Coun Blissett said he was pleased to see proposals for more than 100 new homes in Startforth had been included in the County Durham Plan – 75 on land south of Deerbolt Young Offenders' Institute and another 38 west of Startforth school.
“The village needs building up,” he said.
Coun John Watson said he was concerned the plan did not contain an official town boundary and was anxious this could lead to urban sprawl.
Mr Carter said a lot of boundaries had become out of date, but added it would be policy that any development proposal put forward would have to be contained within the settlement.
“We have not got that defined boundary but we do have that policy, so there is still control but it is a bit more flexible,” he said.
A special meeting of Barnard Castle Town Council will be held next Monday, October 22, to discuss the County Durham Plan and come up with a formal response to proposals contained in its preferred options draft version.