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Hartlepool Borough Council's planning committee has approved the largest housing development in the Tees Valley... with 800 fewer homes than originally proposed.

The planning application for High Tunstall in the North East town originally proposed 2000 new homes in the masterplan, which also included a new distributor road, local centre, primary school, amenity open space and structure planting.

Following the two-stage public consultation by Results Communications Ltd in 2014, and continual dialogue between the client, Tunstall Homes, and planning consultancy Prism Planning with Hartlepool Borough Council, the planning application was submitted for consideration the same year. The approved application represents the changes in market conditions, and the benefits of adopting a considered approach through early engagement with stakeholders.

Working on behalf of Tunstall Homes, we carried out the two-stage pre-application consultation with the community, gathering their views about the proposal for land south of Elwixk Road in High Tunstall. The scheme was one of the largest in the North East and required an Environmental Impact Assessment under current European legislation.

"It is great that this proposal has finally been approved. One of the take-aways for me was that that the proposed development raised a number of issues, many of which were brought forward during our public consultation events, and in feedback afterwards," explained Ruth Shepherd, Director of Results Communications, who led the delivery of the consultation.

"One of the issues which raised questions was about the number of new homes proposed, which at the time responded to the market conditions. In the intervening years, those conditions have changed, and through engagement with stakeholders and other information becoming available it was clear that the towns housing needs had reduced; in response, so did the proposal.
"This is a great example of how engagement and consultation - particularly early in the development of the proposal - can influence the final options available and - ultimately - the decision."

"It's not the first time consultees have influenced how a consultor's proposal changes through dialogue and negotiation, and it's great to see stakeholders getting involved, being informed and influencing what happens in their communities."