The owner of a long-standing family business in a Durham City suburb is backing the benefits that a proposed new £30m residential development would bring to his community.
Sean Kell, who runs animal supplies business The Feed Warehouse in Browney, has come out in support of proposals being put forward by Meadowfield-based Banks Property for 271 family homes on the 27-acre Browney Lane site, which sits on agricultural land near to the junction of North View and Browney Lane.
Sean was born and raised in the village, which lies on the south-west outskirts of Durham City, and lives there with his partner Jill and four year-old son Cameron.
He took over the family business three years ago that his dad Eddie founded as a wholesale fruit and vegetable warehouse in 1973.
He is now hoping that the Browney Lane scheme will improve the facilities available to local families, as well as providing a boost to his and other businesses operating in the area.
Sean Kell says: “Having lived here all my life, I know well just how much Browney has changed over time – we’ve always moved forward when new needs have arisen, and I think this development would help the village do that now.
“I went to school in Browney, and I hope that my four year-old son will do the same, but there’s always a concern that there won’t be enough children to keep the school open – having this many new families living here will take that concern away and will ensure the school has a sustainable long-term future.
“Our local parks had an awful lot more to offer when I was growing up than they do now – facilities have been gradually whittled away, but the money that would come in with this development would mean we could look to make big improvements to them from which everyone would benefit.
“From a business point of view, having more people in the area could only help both my own store and the others in the immediate area, and I think it would be likely that new shops would open up to service the larger local population, which would be great for the local economy and would probably mean new job opportunities for local people.
“We all need to take a long-term view of what we’ll need here over the next few decades, and I think the development plans that I’ve seen will give us the chance to improve our community in lots of different ways.”
Over 130 local people viewed Banks’ outline plans for the scheme at a recent public exhibition, and two-thirds (66 per cent) of those who completed an event feedback form said they were in favour of the proposals, with just 18 per cent expressing the opposite view.
Banks is looking to submit a planning application by the end of September for the site, which is identified for new housing in the County Durham Plan Preferred Options document, and the company’s community team is currently a range of consultation activities to ensure local people and groups have every opportunity to find out about and comment on the proposals.
Around 30 new jobs would be created during the site preparation and construction phases of the scheme, and investment would also be made in improving the fabric of the Browney community through a range of community benefits to be delivered alongside the development, which would follow on from support already given by Banks to many local organisations.
Improvements would also be made to the local road infrastructure as part of the development, which would help address existing traffic issues in the area that were highlighted at the recent exhibition.
Michael Shuttleworth, managing director of Banks Property, says: “Getting support from residents like Sean who’ve been here for decades and who can only have the best interests of their community at heart gives us confidence that our ideas are on the right track.
“We’ve had a terrific amount of positive comment from local people about our outline proposals, and have been working hard to incorporate many of the ideas we got at the exhibition into our final designs.
“This scheme would meet a growing local demand for high quality properties, and would also bring with it a range of employment, economic and community benefits to an area that we know would make a real long-term difference to it.”
Anyone who would like any further information about the proposed Browney Lane scheme should contact the Banks Property community engagement team on 0191 378 6100 or via firstname.lastname@example.org