Middleton St George parish council agrees £15k for development document

Parish chairwoman Doris Jones

Parish chairwoman Doris Jones

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Darlington reporter

A PARISH council has agreed to take the future of the village into its own hands by creating a legal document setting out how and where new building would be accepted in the coming years.

Middleton St George is facing a number of planning applications for large housing estates, causing concern among residents and the parish council about whether the village infrastructure can cope.

At a special meeting of Middleton St George parish council, members agreed that if they have any chance of preventing the village being overrun by new developments, they will need to work together to create a Neighbourhood Plan.

A legal document, the plan will set out where new development would be acceptable - including housing, industry and public facilities – and form a basis for preventing applications deemed inappropriate for the village.

The Neighbourhood Plan will cost £15,000 to create, with the parish council agreeing a one-off increase to the precept for 2014-15 to pay for it.

The increase will result in an extra £10 for the average band D property in the village this year.

Parish chairwoman Doris Jones said: “The floodgates have opened and the developers think they can build where they like.

“The neighbourhood plan is very expensive but we feel that it will be to the benefit of the village as a legal document that will have teeth.”

Councillor Steve York added: “This document will give the village an opportunity to put our views across.

“This is not about saying no to any development ever happening again in the village – we can’t do that – but it lets us have a say about what we want to see happen and what is right for the residents.”

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