Plans approved for new housing estate on former Washington school site

Plans for a new housing estate on the site of a former Washington school have been backed by councillors.

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 5:49 pm
Updated Friday, 29th November 2019, 12:39 pm
Stock picture of a bricklayer at work
Stock picture of a bricklayer at work

Earlier this year, developer Galliford Try Partnerships lodged plans for land off Goldcrest Road, in Ayton.

The site was the former home of Ayton Primary School which closed more than a decade ago.

Following a decision by councillors this week, permission has been granted to build 56 homes on the site.

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This includes a mix of two-storey detached, semi-detached and terraced properties with between two and four bedrooms.

The plans were discussed by the council’s area development control sub-committee on Tuesday, November 26.

As part of a section 106 agreement, developers are expected to cough up a six-figure sum to reduce the impact of the development.

This includes £245,957 towards primary and secondary education in the city, £24,940 towards ecology mitigation, £39,256 towards play provision and £35,000 towards improvements to Ayton Park to the south.

Developers also agreed to provide 10% affordable homes on the site – ‘rent to buy or shared ownership’ – and the “translocation of a butterfly habitat.”

Other works include “mitigation and ongoing maintenance works at the Bowes Railway Site.”

At the meeting this week, the housing plans sparked criticism from councillors over the ‘H-shape’ design, lack of bungalows and levels of affordable housing.

Coun Mel Speding called for more affordable homes to be provided, citing a policy in the council’s emerging local plan set to be adopted next year.

This includes the council asking developers for 15% affordable housing for major estate plans.

Coun Melanie Thornton added affordable homes in the site plan were segregated from the rest of the estate and asked if they could be “mingled in.”

Council planners, recommending the scheme for approval, said the estate would contribute to council’s housing land supply and bring a vacant site back into use.

Agent for the applicant, Sam Thistlethwaite, added the firm regularly worked with councils and landowners to develop “awkward brownfield sites.”

He told the meeting current designs were brought forward due to technical site issues – including the effects of previous coal works on the site.

Councillors heard grouping affordable housing together were favoured from a practical point of view – from maintenance to transferring the properties to a registered social landlord.

Although six affordable homes are currently allocated in the plan, representatives fom Galliford Try Partnerships hinted they were in advanced negotiations with a housing association to provide more.

However, they said this deal was subject to the council granting planning permission.

Following discussion, city councillors approved the plans.

Developers expect work to start in early 2020.