Bowls Club secretary backs Mount Oswald development plans to bring improvements to local facilities

May 25, 2012 | Community News

A long-standing Neville’s Cross resident is backing plans for the development of the Mount Oswald site in Durham to bring the improvements to local facilities that he believes his community badly needs. 

Ian Hudson has given his support to the plans that have been put forward by the Meadowfield-based Banks Group, which would include the creation of new community facilities alongside executive housing, an education quarter and a significant amount of new public open spaces. 

Mr Hudson, who has lived in the area for 45 years and who is secretary of the Neville’s Cross Bowls Club that plays at the Lowes Barn Playing Fields, believes a venue that could be run in the style of an old-fashioned village hall would help bring a true sense of togetherness back to the area which has been hindered as previous facilities have become run down or lost altogether. 

And he is hoping the members of the County Council’s planning committee take a proactive approach to addressing the Neville’s Cross community’s dual need for better community facilities and more high quality housing by approving the Mount Oswald development plans. 

Ian Hudson says: “To me, the Mount Oswald development plans are far more than just a new housing development – they offer an excellent way of accessing the resources required to make the improvements to our community that we know are urgently needed, as well as attracting the sorts of dynamic people who will help drive the city forward by creating new enterprises and jobs. 

“Over the time that we’ve lived here, this area has lost an awful lot of community facilities, to the point where all we really have left is the Lowes Barns play park and playing fields, which, along with our club house, have deteriorated visibly in recent years. 

“The Council has recently begun to make some much-needed improvements to the play area, but the only new equipment that’s been installed in the park in recent years before this was funded by the Banks Group, and the bowling club members spend a lot of their own time working on the site to keep it looking as presentable as we can. 

“We’re crying out for a dedicated place that can be operated like an old community-run village hall in which local people can come together for any purpose, from toddler or OAP groups through to events, displays or even just a cup of tea and a chat, and the development plans for Mount Oswald would provide the funding required for something up to 21st century standards to be built for everyone to use whenever they needed to. 

“The lack of a central point at which people from any part of Neville’s Cross can gather is clearly having a real impact on the togetherness of our community, and we need to see proactive action taken by our local representatives to address both this growing concern alongside the wider need for high quality housing in the area. 

Banks’ Mount Oswald development proposals have been designed to support Durham City’s position as both a centre for inward investment and an economic driver for the wider region.

If it is approved, it would support around 220 local jobs, with around 120 people employed on site during the construction phase of the scheme and a further 100 jobs across the supply chain.  Opportunities for further local job creation could follow from the development of new facilities including a new convenience store, health centre and small offices, and from the potential conversion of the Mount Oswald manor house into a retirement home. 

The development proposals would also open up a significant proportion of the Mount Oswald site to general public use for the first time, with a number of natural corridors running through the site opening up into a range of different formal and informal public spaces, which, along with a network of footpaths, a community garden and new woodland, would cover more than 18 acres of land. 

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “The realisation of this scheme would provide many benefits to the area, including employment opportunities for local people, increased revenues for the local and regional economies and the creation of the sorts of new facilities that Mr Hudson rightly believes will have such a positive impact on the community. 

“Other schemes that we’ve previously undertaken in the area have led to the creation of new developments of this type, including the new all-weather pitch at Meadowfield, and we’ve received a number of great suggestions from local people about the sorts of community facilities that could be incorporated into our final planning application.

“We hope we are given the chance to create the facilities that Mr Hudson wants to see made available to the Neville’s Cross community, and firmly believe that our proposals very much fit in with the local authority’s vision for the city’s future.” 

Anyone who would like more information on the new Mount Oswald development proposals can contact the Banks community relations team by calling 0191 378 6100 or emailing mountoswald@banksgroup.co.uk.  For furhter information visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/mount-oswald

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