Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has allowed an appeal by Bellway Homes for a 279 homes plus a 51-bed sheltered housing scheme on a greenfield site to the east of the Great North Road at Wideopen, near Newcastle upon Tyne.
The scheme was rejected by North Tyneside Council against the advice of officers. The inspector who held the subsequent appeal hearing recommended it should be approved, a stance echoed by the Secretary of State.
Pickles acknowledged that that there was strong opposition to the development from local residents, supported by local councillors and the local MP. They were concerned over the impact on wildlife, the countryside and the Weetslade Country Park and voiced fears about traffic congestion and highway safety.
However, the minister’s decision letter made it clear he accepted the conclusions of the inspector that the proposals were “in conformity with the development plan and accord with the relevant Government planning guidance”. A key factor was the absence of a five-year supply of deliverable land for housing.
The minister added: “There are no objections of sufficient weight as to indicate that a decision should be taken otherwise than in accordance with the development plan.”
A spokesperson for North Tyneside Council said: “In this instance elected members chose to favour the balance of issues put forward by local residents and refused the application.
“We will now work with the applicant to ensure that the 71 conditions attached to the decision are met. We are pleased that the application for costs against the council has been rejected.”
Earlier proposals for the site were successfully opposed by the local planning authority.
7 April 2011