300 new houses dubbed as ‘sheer lunacy’ by objectors

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A HOUSING development has been given the go-ahead despite almost 1,000 objections and being dubbed “sheer lunacy.”

Sunderland Council’s planning and highways committee gave outline planning permission for 300 home on greenbelt land at North Road, Hetton.

Objections from the community included fears of flooding risk, increase in traffic, effect on wildlife and Hetton Bogs Site of Special Scientific Interest.

However, 14 out of 15 committee members voted to approve the development, 10 per cent of which will be affordable housing.

The one against, Houghton councillor Sheila Ellis, said: “I opposed it because it is sheer lunacy.

“It’s ecological reasons, and I think it shows great disrespect to Hetton Town Council that it is overruled in this way.”

Coun Richard David Tate, of Hetton Town Council, said it has resisted development on the land for 35 years.

It had opposed this development, first proposed in 2011, which has not raised any concerns from council consultees including the Environment Agency, Northumbria Water and Natural England.

About two dozen complainants attended the meeting at Sunderland Civic Centre, and two voiced objections to the committee.

Eileen Gillard, of The Grove, said she was “furious” that the plans have been passed. “I have been protesting against this since the beginning,” she told the Echo after the meeting.

“There is no need for extra houses in Hetton when there are already houses that can’t sell. I understand the need for affordable housing, but these aren’t affordable houses.”

Chairman of the planning committee, Coun Phil Tye, said he would ask for matters raised by residents to be called back to the committee for discussion as the development progressed.

“One talking point is that none of the statutory consultees highlighted anything of serious concern with the plans,” he added.

“But I think because of the reserve matters discussed, that we should have those coming back to us because it is just an outline application at this stage, so we can see what it really means and what will really happen.”

The development could take between six and 10 years to be completed.

The planning permission includes applicant Turley Associates contributing about £1.3million towards travel links, play facilites, education and ecologicial improvements.