Wynyard homes plan booted out and branded 'overdevelopment' as plots total shoots up over 50%

An aerial view of part of Wynyard Village
An aerial view of part of Wynyard Village -Credit:Cameron Hall Developments/Jomast Developments

A housing development has been rejected because of worries that the number of new homes on an upmarket estate could skyrocket.

Cameron Hall Developments and Banks Homes' plan for 135 homes at Wynyard Village did not find favour with residents who lodged objections. Stockton councillors have now delivered their verdict, going against their officers' recommendations and saying the plans went too far.

The site to the south-west of the estate had permission in principle for up to 500 houses with a primary school, shops, doctors' surgery and community facilities. However various plans sent to Stockton Council, if approved, could see the number of new homes shoot up from 500 to 767 - a rise of more than 50%.

The scheme, for 135 two to five-bedroom homes, was one of those plans. Considered by the planning committee this week, the proposal attracted 65 objections saying it was overdevelopment which would cause traffic congestion and be out of keeping with Wynyard.

Planning services manager Simon Grundy said: "Should all the remaining applications seeking additional housing in this area of Wynyard be accepted, that would result in a total of 767 dwellings." However officers recommended approving the 135-home plan, with conditions including money towards education and £2.17m to affordable housing in a different area.

Stephen Longstaff, speaking for the developer, said the "high-quality homes" would bring about 400 jobs and £3.8m spending, bring a historic racecourse track into use and "finish off this part of Wynyard village", with plans for a new medical centre, shops, restaurant and function room.

Tony Maxwell from Wynyard Residents' Association said it would violate the previous planning agreement not to go over 500 homes. He said: "We have a situation where land specified for development for a maximum of 500 houses had been turned into 765 - all done without notification to the residents."

Tony Maxwell from Wynyard Residents' Association.
Tony Maxwell from Wynyard Residents' Association. -Credit:Gareth Lightfoot

'Thrust upon us'

Objector Bob Bussey said: "The Local Plan commits the council to recognise and respect the unique character of Wynyard village. The pledge turns out to be nothing more then rhetoric, it's unworthy of the local authority.

"What we have witnessed in the village is inappropriate development which does not meet the Wynyard brand. We have had development thrust upon us on much smaller plots, resulting in smaller homes. Of course this strategy increases the yield and return for developers.

"We are currently of the view that there should be an internal investigation into how the council's housing policy is being applied to Wynyard village. We believe... that this has got to stop and that any further development in the village must be sympathetic and in-keeping with its original character."

'Tantamount to turning a blind eye'

Councillor Niall Innes said countless residents were dismayed at an "attack" on their home. He added: "There's no doubt that there is the need to build homes in Stockton. However, true to form, Stockton Council continues to allow questionable planning applications to be accepted, as long as they are in areas that give the council the largest financial return. Like the cartoon character, the pound signs appear in their eyes.

"What does this say to residents? 'Yes, today 500 houses, but tomorrow we might want a further 250, 300 or maybe even 500.' Approving this application is tantamount to this council turning a blind eye to the glaring issues with this application, whilst attempting to cram as many houses as possible on to a plot while neglecting other parts of the borough."

Mr Grundy said the original 500-home cap was due to roads, and more capacity had since been found with forthcoming road improvements, the "incredibly low-density" houses would be consistent with the surroundings and officers believed the plan was acceptable.

Councillors on the planning committee discussed the proposals before making their decision. Cllr Norma Stephenson said: "I do have concerns about this. I seriously think it's overdevelopment. I think to describe this application as a Wynyard extension is a bit rich. I've got a village with a lot less houses than this."

Cllr Norma Stephenson
Cllr Norma Stephenson -Credit:Katie Lunn/Teesside Live

Cllr Sylvia Walmsley said: "Time and again we come across this with planning. We approve an outline for 500 dwellings and then all of a sudden it's gone up to 767. It's a totally different kettle of fish. I have grave concerns about it on that basis alone. The difference in size, I think it's just untenable."

Cllr Eileen Johnson said Ingleby Barwick residents were "promised the earth... It didn't come to fruition, so I have my doubts about this. I'm also worried about the road infrastructure. I'm not against development at Wynyard per se. This is just too far."

Cllr Lynn Hall said: "We've overdeveloped an area that had a brilliant masterplan. We want the best for Wynyard, we want the best for its residents." The committee voted by a 12-2 majority to refuse the plan.