October 11, 2013 | Property News
New proposals for a housing development which could lead to a privately-funded and much-need bypass being built around a Gateshead village have received a positive response from a significant proportion of local residents.
Durham-based Banks Property, part of the Banks Group, held a public exhibition in Sunniside on the planned residential development of an 11-hectare site to the south of the Tanfield Railway Line which would include the construction of both a new road between Stanley Road and Pennyfine Road and could facilitate the construction of a full bypass around the whole village.
More than 140 people came along to the event at the Sunniside Social Club to view Banks’ proposals, which have been designed to help address existing major concerns about traffic congestion through at peak times as well as reduce any transport issues caused by the proposals for new homes in the wider area.
Almost two-thirds of the 50 people who completed feedback forms at the event said they approved of the plans that Banks had on display.
More than two-fifths (44%) of the survey respondents said they felt the draft route for the Sunniside bypass to the south of the village was acceptable, while 36% were against it and 18% wanted to see further design work carried out on it.
Almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents said that a bypass was needed now to cope with Sunniside’s existing traffic levels, with the figure rising to 84% when the traffic impact of future developments in the area was taken into account.
Banks has provided initial feedback on the exhibition to Gateshead Council’s planning department, and is currently compiling a detailed report which will shortly be submitted for consideration in the Council’s ongoing housing consultation, which is due to finish on 21 October.
John Ruddick, senior property development manager of Banks Property, says: “We’re pleased that so many local people took the time to come along to what was a very busy event, and also with the positive response that our ideas received from a high proportion of them.
“There was a high level of general acceptance that traffic issues in the area need to be addressed, especially with regard to the traffic impact on Sunniside of wider housing development across the area, and there was also a general acceptance that new housing is needed in the village in order to enable young families to stay or move there, and to also help support local shops and services.
“The scheme we’re putting forward offers a way in which this much-needed new road could be built as part of local residential development, and at no cost to the public purse, and we strongly believe that it would fit in extremely well with the work being done to meet Gateshead’s strategic need for more housing stock.
“We will utilise all the feedback we received from all the visitors to our exhibition as we continue to work up a detailed design for this scheme, and hope our contribution to Gateshead Council’s housing consultation exercise will be a useful addition to the wider debate.”
Banks’ site was initially identified by Gateshead Council in 2011 as one of the potential locations through which it could look to meet local housing needs up to the year 2030, with Banks looking to build around 255 properties on it.
However, in July last year, the Council decided that, while the site was still acceptable in principle, it was not going to be included in the forward plan due to the traffic impacts caused by the number of houses that were being proposed for the site and the estimated £20m cost of building a bypass to deal with it.
The Council is instead proposing to mitigate the cumulative traffic impacts of proposed developments at Sunniside and Dunston Hill through improvements to junctions on the A692 and B6317, and through provision of a Park and Ride facility at Lobley Hill.
A report from independent traffic consultants engaged by Banks has found that the actual construction cost of building the bypass would be £8.8 million, and Banks is proposing that its site along with other possible new housing development in Sunniside could make financial contributions to meeting the full cost of road construction, rather than letting it fall on the public purse.
Such a bypass would also help to address the major additional impact of traffic on Sunniside which is likely to occur as a result of the proposes construction of over 4,000 new homes which, according to the Durham Plan, will be needed in Consett, Burnopfield, Stanley, Tanfield Lea and Annfield Plain.
The Council is currently proposing to allocate 131 new houses to Sunniside, 83 to the west of Pennyfine Road and 48 north of Streetgate, but no allowance has been made to improve the local road infrastructure to manage the traffic that would result from these properties.