Controversial homes plan narrowly approved despite warnings of 'creeping overdevelopment'

Stoney Wood Drive in Wynyard
Stoney Wood Drive in Wynyard -Credit:Google

A housing plan which split councillors down the middle has been narrowly approved.

Cameron Hall Developments' outline plan to build two homes and detached garages off Stoney Wood Drive, Wynyard, drew 26 letters of objection from 21 people. They raised concerns over road safety, traffic, privacy, property values, wildlife, trees, water, light pollution, parking, views, precedent, profit, character of the area and deviation from the Stockton Local Plan and Wynyard Masterplan.

Objector Tony Maxwell spoke during a meeting of Stockton Council's planning committee which was to decide the matter following a month-long delay for an ecologist's survey. He said: "It is public open space.

"The plots have been advertised for sale and we believe that they have in fact been sold. Members, there is a creeping overdevelopment taking place in the village.

"It may be two houses today. But we've already had 130 added beyond the outline numbers and we know another 135 are about to be considered."

In the same meeting, plans for 135 homes in Wynyard were refused by the committee after it heard that the number of houses could rise from an agreed 500 to more than 760. Planning services manager Simon Grundy responded to the objections: "My reading of the Wynyard Masterplan is that it's not public open space. It's down as an area of woodland.

"From an officer's perspective, the principle of two additional units being accommodated on the site is considered to be acceptable."

'We deviate from our masterplan at our peril'

However Councillor Lynn Hall said: "In my opinion it's open space. We deviate from our masterplan at our peril. Lessons should have been learned from Ingleby Barwick and it's unfair to the current residents of Wynyard, who will feel let down by SBC and the planning process.

"This very much is a buffer zone, the bit of land we're talking about. Amenity of neighbouring residents would, I feel, be affected and indeed the character of the area has been affected by the felling of trees. If pro-active engagement was taking place, why were trees felled before we considered this application? We should have had the tree assessment before."

'Too many ifs and buts'

She said the ecological issue had not been addressed as the latest survey was done outside the optimal season: "Too many ifs and buts," she concluded. Self-build properties, but the thin end of the wedge in the overall picture. So yes it's only two properties, but we have to stick true to our masterplan."

Mr Grundy said: "The trees, regrettably, have gone. There is an element of tree planting which is retained. We feel the development would be entirely in-keeping with the overall aesthetic of Wynyard as an estate."

He said the ecological survey found the site was of "low ecological value" so it was felt there would be harm to any species protected by law. Seven councillors voted to approve the plan, seven to reject it. The casting vote of chair Cllr Mick Stoker meant the plan was approved by the committee.