THE architect behind the proposed eco development on Humbledon Hill has hit back at a social media campaign against his development and is urging people to read the planning documents to help make a balanced judgement.
Sunderland-born Richard Marsden, a director of multi-disciplinary practice BDN Ltd, has submitted proposals to build 13 bespoke homes on the Bronze Age site.
As previously reported in the Echo, many of those living around the hill have united in strong opposition against the plans, drawing up petitions and putting up posters.
There is also lively dialogue on social media sites such as Facebook.
He now says he refuses to engage in a developing online slanging-match about the suitability of the land, and says his lawyers will look into potentially defamatory comments.
“We, as professional consultants, refuse to become embroiled in a war of words with residents, and while we do take on board their concerns, we have been working with archaeologists, English Heritage, Natural England, Limestone Landscapes and Sunderland Council for over a year now,” Mr Marsden told the Echo.
“Our application is a very thorough submission and all the answers to people’s concerns lie within those documents.
“We have had some of the top architectural professors and planning barristers working alongside us and believe we have proposed a very sensitive scheme which actually preserves the scheduled area of the hill.
“With regards to wildlife and ecology, the scheduled area is approximately two acres – 50 per cent of the site – and this will forever remain undeveloped and be maintained, which will increase the sites biodiversity and anything taken from the ground will be relocated and reused for the living roofs. With this in mind, these personal objections are not material planning considerations and hold very little weight.
“There is no such thing as a right to a view of land which isn’t your own.
“I would urge anyone that is interested or concerned to visit the council’s website.
“We would also like to put on record that we have not engaged and will not be drawn into social media and tweeting.
“Our work was done a long time ago, we are not about to let all the hard work go to waste and stoop to that level, but our legal team will be looking into the slander that is taking place by a few individuals.
“We will now let the councillors and professionally qualified planning officers carry out their role as normal.
“We firmly look forward to seeing this project through to fruition and if that means taking the application to appeal due to the petition, then so be it.”
The full planning application is available to view online at www.sunderland.gov.uk.