A CONTROVERSIAL housing development is getting bigger in a move described by one councillor as “adding insult to injury”.

An extra 36 new homes will be added to the Woodcross Gate housing development off Flatts Lane, Normanby.

Redcar and Cleveland Council gave permission in October 2019 for 400 new properties to be built by developer Miller Homes.

The local authority had previously rejected the proposed development, but was overruled following a successful appeal by investment company Theakston Estates to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.

Miller Homes sought to amend part of the site layout and change the house types being built under phase two of construction and has now been successful with a fresh planning application.

The Northern Echo:

Independent Christopher Gallacher, who represents Normanby ward on Redcar and Cleveland Council. Picture: Redcar and Cleveland Council

Councillor Christopher Gallacher, who represents Normanby as an independent, said he objected to what he called “development creep”.

He said education and health provision in the area was already under great strain and a further 36 homes would not help.

Cllr Gallacher also said there would be an increase in traffic movements, greater than those suggested by council highways chiefs in their analysis.

He said: “This will increase the potential for accidents and congestion in the local area.”

Christopher Harrison, the agent for the applicant Miller Homes, told the council’s regulatory committee the suitability and sustainability of the site was independently and rigorously tested at a public inquiry in 2017.

He said: “In increasing the number of dwellings a further transport assessment has been undertaken which has found there will be no significant adverse effects as a result of this development with less than one vehicle being generated every two minutes in the AM/PM peaks.”

Mr Harrison said the “red line” boundary for the overall site had not changed, along with the road layout, while open space had not been compromised for the extra housing.

He said the company was changing the mix of properties in order to increase density to provide the 36 homes and also pointed out that £1.5m was being provided to the local authority for local schools as part of a so-called section 106 agreement.

The Northern Echo:

Cllr Anne Watts, independent councillor for Belmont on Redcar and Cleveland Council. Picture: Redcar and Cleveland Council

Councillor Anne Watts asked if the company was using smaller houses and had therefore “got more in”, to which Mr Harrison replied: “Yes”.

Cllr Watts said: “They have been squashed in to make more money.

“We have to stick to our guns – this site went against public wishes, but it went ahead, fair enough.

“This extra housing I think is adding insult to injury though.”

Councillor Billy Ayre raised concerns about the risk of flooding, but it was pointed out by development services manager Claire Griffiths that Northumbrian Water had said the development was acceptable from a drainage point of view as the “experts”.

The Northern Echo:

Councillor Stuart Smith, who represents Saltburn as an indepdent on Redcar and Cleveland Council and is chairman of its planning committee. Picture: Redcar and Cleveland Council

Councillor Stuart Smith, chairman of the committee, said a report showed no adverse effects on highways or flooding.

He said: “I would prefer smaller properties as I think there is a shortage in this borough which are needed for people wanting to start a home.

“It won’t have any negative impact outside the application site and if people don’t like the density of the properties they have the choice not to buy them.

“Under planning legislation I can’t see how we can reject this application and I will be voting for it.”

The application was approved by five votes to two.

The Northern Echo:

Land at High Farm, Normanby, which is being developed by Keepmoat for 59 new homes. Picture: Redcar and Cleveland Council

Another planning application for 59 properties at High Farm, Normanby, which will be accessed from Skippers Lane, was also approved despite the land being said to contribute towards a “green wedge” between Eston and Middlesbrough.

Eston ward councillor Vincent Smith said the land had been “reclaimed by nature” and supported a wide variety of birds and other wildlife.

He said: “As a council do we not have a responsibility to retain valuable green spaces as much as possible for future generations to enjoy and to combat climate change?”

A total of 135 representations were received by the council over the housing plan which included concern that Skippers Lane was already “overwhelmed” by traffic.

Regulatory committee chairman Cllr Smith said it was allocated land within the council’s Local Plan, while Councillor Neil Baldwin said there was no justifiable reason to refuse.

Members voted eight in favour and one against in respect of the application by developer Keepmoat.