The Sedgefield Plan

Avant Homes have today announced that they are preparing a planning application for 150 houses on the large field adjacent to Beacon Lane and A689 , this represents additional building to that already known and is of serious concern to the community. Comments please to info@thesedgefieldplan.com.

The Sedgefield Plan responds to the threat of excessive housing development

The team behind the development of The Sedgefield Plan has responded to the latest planning application to build new homes in the town, recently submitted to Durham County Council (DCC). The application, made by North Yorkshire & South Durham Properties, seeks permission to construct 42 new homes in a field adjacent to Stockton Road, between the town centre and the junction with the A689. Sedgefield residents have until Tuesday 9 September to comment on the proposals on the DCC planning portal. So far, over two dozen separate submissions have been made by members of the general public, all of which object strongly to the proposals.

In the research work undertaken by the steering group of The Sedgefield Plan, the site, locally known as “The Three Cornered Field”, is one that Sedgefield residents are clear should not be developed. The road it is next to is one of the main, historic entrances to the town, and the field is regarded as an important green space in Sedgefield. When considered alongside other planning applications for housing in Sedgefield, there are now proposals with DCC amounting to over 1,000 new homes. The draft Durham County Plan has allocated 450 new homes to Sedgefield between now and 2030, while The Sedgefield Plan (and responses to the Durham County Plan by Sedgefield Town Council) argue that a maximum of 300 additional homes should be built during that time period.

David Bowles, chairman of The Sedgefield Plan steering group, comments: “We have stated before that Sedgefield is a community under siege. This latest application is yet another example of that and residents are becoming really concerned that unwarranted and unchecked development will be given the green light in this town. People enjoy living here because of Sedgefield’s rural character and strong community spirit and they feel that this is facing a very real threat.

“Sedgefield accepts that some development must be allowed, and the town has benefitted from growth in the past, but what is on the table at the moment goes way too far. 1,000 new homes would fundamentally alter the shape and character of Sedgefield and beyond that, there is one developer who has previously stated an aspiration to build around 2,000 new homes here. These prospects are frightening people here and are wholly inappropriate for Sedgefield.

“The timescale for the completion of the Durham County Council Local Plan appears to be moving further back on a regular basis. That plan should provide a planning framework to manage, and indeed, limit development here, but the longer it takes to complete, the greater the risk that such development will happen despite it. Because of this danger, we are pressing ahead with drafting The Sedgefield Plan, using evidence gathered here in this community. Our assertion that no more than 300 homes should be built is based on the wishes of residents and the fact that the infrastructure here can support no more. Even with that level of development, we would expect significant parallel investment in health, education and other community facilities. We will clearly articulate how Sedgefield should develop between now and 2030 and press for our plan to be a material consideration in any planning applications to build housing here.”

For more information about The Sedgefield Plan visit www.thesedgefieldplan.co.uk, email info@thesedgefieldplan.co.uk or follow @SedgefieldPlan on Twitter.

‘Sedgefield a small town with a village at its heart’

Public meetings to discuss progress with The Sedgefield Plan 29th and 30th June commencing at 7pm in Parish Hall. Please comment on the draft Sedgefield Plan by email to info@thesedgefieldplan.com

This is your chance to view the plan as it has developed so far, to see and discuss the key issues and policies, to suggest amendments and additions and to give your approval. This is a critical time for Sedgefield; we are under siege from potential developers, The County Plan inspection in late September will set the planning rules to 2030, so a strong plan for Sedgefield is critical to the future of the community we all love. It’s your future so please come along and support this vital project.

‘Sedgefield a small town with a village at its heart’

Sedgefield – a community under siege

David Bowles of The Sedgefield Plan

The team behind the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Sedgefield responds to recent statements (and resulting media coverage) of developer ESRG’s proposals for building housing in the town.

Sedgefield is a small town with a village at its heart, that makes it an attractive place to live and raise a family. This fact is not lost on landowners and potential developers who have been encouraged by the government’s drive to build houses and see Sedgefield as a good location for their aspirations to mature.

The community feels threatened and has commissioned ‘The Sedgefield Plan’ that will set out policies which, in conjunction with Durham County Council’s ‘Local Plan’, will ensure the development and growth of the community until 2030 does not destroy the character and cohesiveness that has created its attractiveness.

Work on The Sedgefield Plan (TSP) is well underway. A steering group, chaired by local resident David Bowles, has been working hard since autumn 2013, gathering evidence and opinion from the community and developing a framework for the plan and the policies that will be at the heart of it. The steering group’s objective is for TSP to become a statutory planning document by the end of 2014.

The depth and scope of the research that underpins the plan’s policies and other content is extensive. 2,500 households have been surveyed to establish a baseline on which to build policies. 24% of households responded and 90% indicated that they want to see fewer than 300 additional homes built in Sedgefield over the next 20 years.

An additional recent survey has gauged the community’s opinion about eight specific sites within the parish boundary where developers have expressed an interest, that if taken forward could result in the building of over 3,000 new homes. This would more than double the size of Sedgefield. In responses to this latest survey (which was delivered to all homes in the town), residents made it clear that brownfield sites should be developed before greenfield.

ESRG, a developer supported by Gradon Architecture of Ryton on Tyne, has aspirations to build over 400 houses on greenfield agricultural land in the short to medium term, with a longer term ambition to increase that number to over 2,000 houses on green spaces. A recent ESRG/Gradon leaflet and consultation event speaks of “Advantage Sedgefield”, and their follow up press release states that their plans have wide support in the community. The Sedgefield Plan steering group refutes that claim.

David Bowles states: “Nothing could be further from the truth. In our site preferences survey, over 50% of the 350 respondents (more than double the number that ESRG/Gradon surveyed) rated the ESRG site on Beacon Lane as their least favoured, many offering additional opinions that this is agricultural land that is prone to seasonal flooding.

“If ESRG and its architects want to quote accurate statistics that are not designed to mislead, then they should carry out in depth research and not quote unsubstantiated statistics from the comments of the relatively small number of people who attended their consultation event, which was held outside the town (at the racecourse) and therefore not easy to access for all residents.

“I have a copy of their consultation feedback form, which does not even specifically ask whether people support their proposals. The positive figures that they have quoted do not reflect the community views expressed through our two much larger surveys that were proactively sent to all households and which asked specific questions about preferences about the scale and location of developments in Sedgefield. We believe that ESRG, Gradon and their PR team have grossly misrepresented the views of people in Sedgefield.

“Localism is about community engagement and The Sedgefield Plan has, and will continue, to engage with residents and businesses on a regular, transparent and thorough basis. Sedgefield is in fact pro-development. The community accepts the need for development and growth but only at a rate that is reasonable given the current size of the town, and in locations that allow it to be properly integrated into the wider infrastructure, without damaging the fundamental character of Sedgefield.”

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The Parish Hall was packed for a residents' meeting to discuss The Sedgefield Plan

The Parish Hall was packed for a residents' meeting to discuss The Sedgefield Plan

The Parish Hall was packed for a residents' meeting to discuss The Sedgefield Plan

Morton Spalding and David Bowles at a residents meeting to discuss The Sedgefield Plan


David Bowles and Chris Lines of The Sedgefield Plan

Tony Guest shares details of the young peoples survey during the public meeting

Public Meeting to discuss The Sedgefield Plan

To download or view the presentation delivered by David Bowles and Morton Spalding please click the image.


Public Meeting - 10th & 11th March

Commencing at 7pm in the Parish Hall
  • Public Meetings 10th and 11th March - Agenda
  • Members of the steering group will be at both meetings to answer questions on topics, provide guidance, recruit new steering group members and organise ‘post it’ note exercise, it would be helpful if you were able to come along. After the general discussion we will have boards (wall space) assigned to each of our main topic’s manned by steering group members who will invite people to ‘post’ comment and ideas.

    The results of the community survey and an opportunity to discuss the issues emerging as The Sedgefield Plan develops will be the topic of two public open meetings to be held in Sedgefield Parish Hall at 7pm on 10th and 11th of March 2014, please come along and participate in this important project to determine the future of our community.

  • Public Meeting 10th/11th March Presentation
  • Public Meeting 10th/11th March Public Comments
  • ‘Post it Note’ comments from Public Meetings

    Some 61 post it note comments were made by the members of the public attending the two evening sessions. A selection are highlighted below. Please click this link to view all of the comments.

    • Quality of life is so important, this will not be improved by massive development
    • Living next to the A689 is not desirable for domestic residents, the area currently provides a natural buffer
    • The council has not invested in Sedgefield housing for years, How much are they getting for this development?
    • Relocate GP surgery to Community Hospital Freeing up more parking space in the village centre
    • Please don’t forget that families are welcome in surrounding villages to buy vacant property.
    • Where are the 2000 families that want to live in our village?
    • Net migration from the North East
    • Will developers contribute to shortfall in amenities sewage, schools, parking etc?

    All meetings to be held at the Town Council Offices. All Steering Group meetings commence at 7pm.

    • 2nd September, 10am: Peer Review of The Sedgefield Plan at Durham County Hall
    • 15th September: Steering Group meeting, 7pm in Fletcher room (Parish Hall)
    Housing
    Housing

    The next working group meeting date will be announced soon. All welcome.

    Infrastructure
    Infrastructure

    The next working group meeting date will be announced soon. All welcome.

    Economy

    The next working group meeting date will be announced soon. All welcome.

    Community & Environment
    Community & Environment

    The next working group meeting date will be announced soon. All welcome.