Ambitious plans for £175million ‘Garden Village’ go on show at public consultation

An artist's impression of what the new homes could look like
An artist's impression of what the new homes could look like
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Ambitious plans for a new £175million village will come under the spotlight tomorrow.

North East developer Tolent is working with housing association Home Group on plans to build the 1,500-home South Seaham Garden Village.

How the new village would be laid out

How the new village would be laid out

Half of the homes proposed for the land, off the A182 at Dawdon, are proposed as affordable housing.

The scheme - on a plot once earmarked for a multi-million pound film studio development - is expected to support 500 jobs, 300 of them on site.

Seaham Town Council has already welcomed landowner Tolent and a planning consultant to one of its sessions, with members told the firm plans to set up a Construction Industry Board Academy, where apprentices would be taken on to work on the project over a decade.

A primary school, coffee and bakehouse and a doctors’ surgery could also feature in the development.

The public exhibition will provide more details on how we plan to deliver the new community in County Durham.

Mark Wilson

Councillors suggested the scheme could answer the town’s call for a swimming pool, with Tolent noting the idea.

Housing for all ages, including bungalows, retirement properties and a 75-bed care home and assisted living accommodation, could be built, while universities from the region and health authorities will be offered space on the land.

The plans for the village will be on show at a public exhibition at the Glebe Centre in Murton from 2pm to 8pm tomorrow, Wednesday, February 21.

All are welcome to attend and learn more about the proposals.

The village hub

The village hub

The public exhibition will be staffed by members of the design team and the feedback the team receives will be used to help frame a formal planning application to be made to Durham County Council in the spring, which will then be the subject of further public consultation by the council.

Tolent’s John Wood said: “Tolent is land owner, developer and contractor and working with Home Group we have a unique opportunity to create an environment that will provide aspirational housing for everyone, training for apprentices and with the support of the universities, a new science support for the elderly.

“This exemplar development will showcase the North East to the rest of the UK.”

Mark Wilson, Home Group’s Head of Development for the North East and Yorkshire, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in the proposed South Seaham Garden Village.

“As one of the largest providers of housing in the UK, we’re keen to provide affordable homes that meet local needs and are proud of what we can offer as part of this exciting project.

“The public exhibition will provide more details on how we plan to deliver the new community in County Durham.”

The developers say the scheme is ‘a major opportunity for East Durham’ which will deliver ‘new housing, affordable housing and new jobs.’

The village centre lies at the heart of the plan and would include a health and well being hub, a primary school, shops and a village hall, set in an attractive landscape setting.

Cara Ware, from planning consultants Peacock and Smith, emphasised the plan was in its early stages: “This is an extremely exciting project which we are delighted to be a part of.

“We are now at the stage where we are ready to share our vision with the public, to obtain their views on the draft proposals before finalising the scheme and submitting a planning application to Durham County Council later in the spring.”

Anyone who is unable to attend, or requires any further information, can call Peacock and Smith on 0113 243 1919 or e-mail