Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has come out in opposition to plans for up to 700 homes at Wynyard which have drawn hundreds of objections.

Mr Houchen stepped into the debate saying the scheme was “ridiculous” and should be refused. He has called on developers Cameron Hall Developments and Jomast Developments to reconsider the plans.

He spoke as objections to the outline proposals more than doubled over the last week and now stand at more than 600 comments on Stockton Council’s website, including objections from Wynyard Parish Council and Sport England.

Mr Houchen said: “I think it’s clear that this planning application should be rejected – but more importantly, it should never have been validated as a legitimate planning application in the first place.

“The application is supported by less than minimal information including two plans and a design and access statement. Something that is much less than expected for a valid permission to be validated for consideration.

The Northern Echo: Ben HouchenBen Houchen (Image: Northern Echo)

“No areas of the application site are allocated for residential development. The majority of the site is either outside of the development limits or within a green wedge.”

The Conservative mayor argued elements of the proposals were not supported by the Local Plan, which sets out policies and proposals to guide planning decisions until 2032. He said: “The proposed residential development adjacent to the A689 is located within an allocated green wedge.

“These areas provide high quality, publicly accessible open space for the residents of Wynyard to enjoy. The loss of these areas would undermine the ability of the residents of Wynyard to enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle.

“The proposals fundamentally undermine the delivery of the Garden Village and the allocated housing sites within the Local Plan by threatening to push the strategic highway network, and other infrastructure supporting the community at Wynyard, beyond capacity.”

The Northern Echo: An aerial view of part of Wynyard VillageAn aerial view of part of Wynyard Village (Image: LDR)

He said the plan was not supported by technical reports or survey work including ecology, transport, flood risk and drainage: “In its current form, it is clear to me that it is impossible to consider the impact of the proposals.”

He has also criticised the Labour-run council, saying it should have thrown out the application and referring to the number of objections: “Many refer specifically to the lack of information provided, which seems fundamental and obvious to everyone – so why it wasn’t obvious to planning officers at Stockton Council is beyond me.

“It’s clear that not only is this a ridiculous application that the developer should not have submitted, but that such a poor application with little to no information should never have been validated by the council and could easily be challenged by residents.

“I hope the developer reconsiders their application and an explanation is provided by the council as to why they aren’t following basic planning rules and accepted practices that are causing a detriment to the area and local residents.”

Cameron Hall Developments and Jomast Developments said in response: “Our application has been very carefully considered. It meets the national validation requirements and has therefore been validated by Stockton Council.

“We are aiming to enhance the facilities within Wynyard Village for current residents by delivering more high-quality amenities, as well as new homes focusing on a low-density approach with beautiful landscaping and greenspace in keeping with the rest of the estate.

“We are also aiming to deliver a significant amount of publicly accessible open space for the enjoyment of residents, improving on the current areas which have limited or no public access. Wynyard is a location that is identified for growth in the current Stockton Local Plan and is therefore acknowledged as a location where future development will take place.

“Developing Wynyard estate in a considerate and measured way is our absolute priority and it is our goal that our aspirations for new amenities for the village align with those of the residents. Further technical work is being undertaken to support the planning application and we will be consulting with all appropriate stakeholders.

“At this time, it will be our priority to conduct a full stakeholder consultation process, which will include the Wynyard Residents’ Association, local residents, golf club members and council officers, as well as all of the statutory planning consultees.

We are committed to giving all interested parties an opportunity to share their views at a series of focus groups as their opinion really matters to us, which we will take on board as the scheme progresses.

“In the interim, we are meeting with the Chair of Wynyard’s Resident’s Association to understand residents’ concerns.”

A spokesperson for Stockton Council said: “The local planning authority has a statutory obligation to consider every planning application on its own merits. The submitted information for this application meets with the national requirements for validation and is therefore considered to be valid.”

The council says it is seeking more information to enable the determination of the application, and a re-consultation exercise will take place with all parties and consultees.