2:15pm Thursday 29th August 2013
By Vicki Henderson
HUNDREDS of people have had their say on the future of open spaces in Darlington, with several communities coming together to fight plans for development in their local area.
Darlington Borough Council held a consultation on its Making and Growing Places development plan, which highlights areas where housing or commercial properties could be built around the town in the next decade, during June and July.
The council received more than 400 responses to the consultation, which ended on August 9, including comments made at public meetings were officers met with residents to discuss the plans.
Among the responses were community petitions calling for open spaces at Hammond Drive, in Skerne Park, Eggleston View, in Branksome, and Hartington Way/Bellburn Lane, off Brinkburn Road, to be saved from future development.
The council has also revealed that residents in the Blackwell and Carmel School areas, the Jedburgh Drive area of Branksome, the Glebe Road and Burtree Lane areas of Harrowgate Hill and the Sugar Hill Close area of Cockerton have also expressed concerns about plans for development on greenfield land.
Chris McEwan, the council’s cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said he was pleased at the response from the public and pledged that planning officers would take the views into account when coming up with a new document.
As well as protests about the possible development of greenfield sites, the council has also received a number of proposals to allocate previously unidentified land for development from landowners.
Residents in the Firthmoor area of the town have also submitted a request to extend the Maidendale Nature Reserve, rather than allocating land south of Cummins for employment use. Councillor McEwan said: “The excellent turnout at the public events that the council organised is a reflection of how much people in Darlington care about their local environment.
“We didn't expect everyone to agree with us, but we have learned a lot about what people think about the proposed sites and have been given some new information, which will be taken into account in finalising the new local plan.”
The comments will be analysed in the coming weeks before an update on the local plan is presented to councillors in the autumn.
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