Objectors highlight fears of raw sewage and flooding if new houses are built in Winston
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
RESIDENTS are opposing plans to build 16 houses at the entrance to a village alongside a grade II-listed pub.
An application to build homes alongside The Bridgewater Arms, in Winston, lodged in November last year, has come under severe scrutiny by residents who warn the area is prone to flash-flooding with a risk of raw sewage overflowing onto the playing field. They also say the scale of the development is too large.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England has also weighed into the debate, saying it would be wrong to build on the greenfield site.
But the developer, Hendriksen and Forrest, says the site is close to built-up area and in a sustainable location.
Although it has not objected to the development, Winston Parish Council members have raised concerns.
Parish chairman Cllr Mike Taylor said: “We are concerned about it. To some degree the scale of the development there – they are four and six bedroom houses – seems over the top for Winston. Our main concern is the area at the entrance. It does flood and we don’t think they have given that due consideration.”
He added that a triangle of land at the entrance has no owner. The parish council had tried to register the triangle of land but failed despite having cared for it for more than two decades, Cllr Taylor said.
Richard Cowan, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said the site is on greenfield land and to build on it would be in conflict with the Teesdale Plan – although the developer's agent said the plan is outdated and is superseded by the National Planning Policy Framework which allows for this. Mr Cowan also warned that the site is in an area of high landscape value and would bring the boundaries of the village alongside the A67 and detract from the “area’s special character”.
Some 21 other objections were made against the development, including one from Winston’s playing fields committee, which runs the playground across the road from the site.
Vice-chairman of the committee James Cook said: “The proposed development is for 16 family homes. In a rural village, the likelihood is that each of these would have two, or even more cars.
“The concern is that extra vehicles and parking obscure visibility and increase the risk to children and families, often encumbered by prams and equipment, accessing the play area.
“The playing fields committee is concerned regarding the safety of young people crossing the road to the play park and therefore feels that the development is inappropriate.”
He is also worried that flooding, which occurs at the entrance to the site, could cause raw sewage to overflow and run onto the playing field.
He said: “The Winston Playing Fields Committee are very concerned about the health and safety risk that this poses to children using the playing field. Northumbrian Water already routinely check this area after periods of heavy rain because of concerns about raw sewage entering the system.”
Acting on behalf of the developer, agent Jon Tweddell said: “It is considered that the site provides a sustainable form of development given the location in relation to local services such as a public house, church, village hall, children’s play area and playing field.
“The site is also accessible to public transport networks in that there are bus stops south of the site within Winston for journeys in both directions.
“The application site is relatively small compared to the overall size of the settlement, therefore the development of this particular site is considered to be appropriate.”
He added that the design of the houses would take into account the character of the village.