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Redmarshall development allowed following appeal

Results Communications' client Prism Planning is celebrating after securing permission for a village development proposal following an appeal.

Darlington-based Prism Planning lodged the appeal for the proposed development within the grounds of a nursing home after Stockton Council failed to determine the application within the required timescale.

The outline planning application, for a development of four four-to-five-bedroom family homes, within the grounds of The Mains Nursing Home in Redmarshall, was the subject of considerable discussion and negotiation between Prism Planning and Stockton Council, as well as with the local community and statutory stakeholders.

The final proposal took on board concerns about the number of proposed houses and their proximity to water mains, and landscaping, and was revised to meet the requests and advice from Stockton Council.

Despite this, planning officers advised that the application would be heading towards refusal. In an effort to save time for their client, Prism Planning submitted its appeal.

Rod Hepplewhite, Director of Prism Planning, said: “We set out to work with planning officers from the outset, and worked closely with them to revise plans in accordance with officer advice and requests, so it was galling to see the application heading towards a refusal.

“Incredibly, the reason for the recommendation to refuse was based on the site being in an unsustainable location, with limited services and provisions, and requiring occupants to travel to employment, education, retail and recreational uses. Our argument was to the contrary; and that Redmarshall and nearby Carlton should be considered as one settlement when determining planning applications.”

Planning Inspector Paul Singleton visited the site last month, and in his narrative report identified the main issue as being “whether the proposal would constitute sustainable development having regard to the accessibility which future occupiers of the proposed dwellings would have to employment opportunities and essential services”.

Allowing the appeal, Mr Singleton explored the proximity of Redmarshall to Carlton – just 400 metres – and found that the available services within both villages was acceptable, and that the council’s assessment of the sustainability of the village was too narrow and did not have proper regard to the guidance within the National Planning Policy Framework which states that where there are groups of smaller settlements, development in one village may support services in a village nearby.Mr Hepplewhite added: “During our pre-application discussions it had become clear that the council had a closed mind to our arguments; submitting the appeal was the only sensible option.

“We were delighted that the Planning Inspector accepted the strength of our case to the extent that he agreed with us on every relevant planning issue. Of particular note was that he agreed with us that Redmarshall and Carlton should be considered as a single entity for planning purposes.”

Work will now commence to develop the details of the proposal, all of which were reserved with the exception of access arrangements.
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Second consultation for Westfield School development proposals

Plans to bring improved sports facilities, including a county-standard gymnasium at Westfield School, are to go on display again next week.

The independent day school in Gosforth will be hosting a public consultation to showcase development proposals for the project, which will see some existing buildings demolished or refurbished and a new gymnasium built.

The buildings earmarked for demolition are old, outdated and would cost a significant amount of money to bring up to the required standard.

Governors and the Senior Leadership team at Westfield – one of the region’s leading independent girls’ schools - are proposing to transform the existing undersized sports hall into a new maths hub, drama suite and art, graphics and textiles studio. A new gymnasium suitable for Sports England and county level sports is proposed within the current grounds. No facilities will be lost as a result of the rolling project, which has already seen the creation of a new administration hub, and refurbished library, classroom and sixth form spaces in the Senior House.

Headmistress Catherine Jawaheer said: “We had a fantastic response to our first consultation and since then the project team has been working with feedback and stakeholders to develop the proposals.

"This is an exciting opportunity to be able to continue the lasting legacy we have here, and to provide improved facilities for learning and developing both in the classroom and in sports activities at Westfield."

The project has already improved significant areas of the Senior House, and through the proposals the school will be able to not only further improve the school’s offer to current and prospective students, but to the Gosforth community and beyond.The proposals include plans to sell off a small part of land which is currently occupied by old classrooms and two temporary Portakabins which need to be replaced and the former Sixth Form Centre, to a development partner, which will in turn fund the refurbishment and new-build elements.

The cleared land would be developed into 22 residential units, including duplexes and houses. Associated parking, which would be provided in excess of current levels, would also be provided. The new gymnasium would include a netball court built to county standards, and intended for use by the county’s premier and first team.

The public consultation will take place between 6pm and 9pm on Wednesday 13 January 2016 in the Dining Room at Westfield School. The proposals will also be available to view online from 10am the following morning at www.resultscommunications.co.uk .

Members of the project team and school staff will be at the public consultation to answer questions and discuss the proposals.