MP Helen Goodman questions legality of village green proposals in Evenwood
TEESDALE’S MP has queried the legality of proposals to develop a strip of Evenwood’s village green.
Plans are being considered by Durham County Council for up to 40 properties at Kays Hall Farm site, with an access road crossing the village green.
MP Helen Goodman visited the site with Evenwood residents and last week sent letters to planning officers at Durham County Council and to the Church Commissioners, which owns the land in question.
Ms Goodman appealed to the Church Commissioners to set out their position on the development of public open spaces, which for Evenwood has been “freely enjoyed by residents for over a century”.
To the county council, Ms Goodman questioned the legality of developing public spaces for private use.
She said: “Although I do not normally get involved in individual planning applications, the loss of public outdoor spaces is a great concern to me.
“I have been contacted by several Evenwood residents who feel this proposal not only creates a potentially hazardous road junction, but sets a dangerous precedent for the exploitation of public spaces by private developers.
“We have to find ways to create the housing we need without compromising the elements of village life that make Evenwood a good place to live.”
Residents’ opposition to the plans include concerns about the loss of the village green, the felling of an ancient lime tree along the route of the proposed access road, and the position of the site entrance which parish councillor Rachel Webb earlier described as a “death trap”.
A similar application had previously been approved by Durham County Council. But because no work has been started on the site, the developer, John Linsley, has had to resubmit the application. In return for the loss of a strip of village green so the development can go ahead, it is proposed that an area of land would be gifted to the Church Commissioners.
The commissioners were unavailable for comment.