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Housing development leaflets cause dispute over land availablity
A DEVELOPER has rejected claims that a leaflet published to promote a proposed housing estate on the edge of a village includes misleading information.
The proposed development of 250 houses in a field on Sadberge Lane, on the outskirts of Middleton St George, has sparked fierce interest from residents, with concerns raised about whether the village can cope with a new influx of properties.
Leaflets about different aspects the development, which is at its earliest stages, have been sent to 1,250 homes in the village as part of an initial consultation process, but ward councillor Doris Jones has highlighted what she claims are ‘wilful inaccuracies’.
The disputed part of the leaflet is a claim by agent Johnson Brooks, acting on behalf of the developer Gladman, that Darlington Borough Council does not have a five-year supply of housing land and that the proposed development will help to address a shortfall of housing in the area.
Coun Jones said the claim is wrong and that the council has identified 114 per cent of the housing land available in the borough for development in the next five years in an official document, which does not include land in Middleton St George.
The five year supply is a legal requirement for all local authorities to ensure that enough suitable land is ready and available for developers to encourage house building.
A spokesman for Johnson Brooks said the company is entitled to publicly dispute the council’s figures and have its own views on the availability of land in the borough.
Coun Jones said the claim about the lack of land for housing in the leaflet has led to residents blaming the council for the potential new estate.
She said: “People are looking at the council and saying why are you letting them [the developers] walk in on us?
“The village is quite furious about this development and they are being given duff information. It’s misleading and it’s upsetting people.
“They are trying to ride roughshod over people and give out this false information and say they have to make up the shortfall in our green spaces.”
In response, Richard Mowat, director of Johnson Brook, said: “Contrary to the council’s current position; Gladman have recently made representations through Darlington Borough Councils preferred options development plan document and have made it clear that they believe the council does not currently have a deliverable five year land supply.
“Clearly, Gladman would not expect the council to agree with this interpretation. However we are within our right to make our views on the current deliverable five year land supply public.”
A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council said: "The national policy which was introduced in March 2012 requires local authorities to have a five year supply of deliverable housing land available, and at least a further five per cent of land on top of that, to ensure flexibility and choice in the supply of land.
“We can confirm that our latest data from December 2012 shows there to be a five year supply, plus 14 per cent, available throughout the borough."
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