Residents plead with council to reconsider building social housing on last green space on their estate

HOMES PLAN: The green space off Hammond Drive, in Skerne Park, where Darlington Borough Council plans to build social housing      Picture:SARAH CALDECOTT

HOMES PLAN: The green space off Hammond Drive, in Skerne Park, where Darlington Borough Council plans to build social housing Picture:SARAH CALDECOTT

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

RESIDENTS of a Darlington estate who oppose plans to build up to 66 new homes on a piece of green land have pleaded with councillors to listen to their concerns.

Penny Brunskill, secretary of Skerne Park Residents’ Association, spoke at a meeting of Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet to ask members to reconsider plans to build social housing on land off Hammond Drive.

Mrs Brunskill said residents valued the greenfield site and feared the effects of a large number of new flats but added that many people felt the situation was a ‘done deal’ and that the council would not listen to their concerns.

The issue of a covenant on the land, believed to prevent it being used for housing, was raised but Ian Williams, the council’s assistant director for economic development, said a “solution had been found”, which was progressing.

Cabinet members said they understood the concerns about the £8.4m housing project, but that the town needed more affordable housing, particularly smaller two bedroom units.

The cabinet agreed to spend £7.2m from its housing capital account to get the scheme underway along with a £1.2m grant from the government’s Homes and Communities Agency.

When asked about the risk of flooding, increased traffic and the impact on the local landscape, cabinet members said those issues would be dealt with during the planning process.

Mrs Brunskill told councillors: “There is still a lot of opposition to this. This is the only bit of green space we have left on the estate.

“There is definitely a covenant on the land. If there’s a covenant, why do the council want to get around that and build there?

“Once you’ve built on this land there’s no going back – it’s gone forever.”

Councillor Paul Harman, ward member for Park East, gave his backing to residents and called for further consultation.

He added: “That consultation cannot present a fait accompli – we need to discuss with residents what they want to see and what is right for the estate.”

Veronica Copeland, cabinet member for housing, said: “I will make sure the head of housing is aware of these concerns. There is a need for affordable rented properties in this area.

“We get the point about further consultation, we don’t want anyone to feel we are just dumping these properties on them – their views are being taken seriously.”

Comments (10)

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5:30pm Wed 3 Sep 14

George1965 says...

This could actually improve Skerne Park. Mind you, it'll take more than a few new flats to improve it much, especially more social housing. They could spend 10x the proposed amount, and it'll still be a dump.
This could actually improve Skerne Park. Mind you, it'll take more than a few new flats to improve it much, especially more social housing. They could spend 10x the proposed amount, and it'll still be a dump. George1965
  • Score: -2

6:06pm Wed 3 Sep 14

perrow says...

skerne park,does,nt need improving,there,s alot of nice people live there.it seems ,the houses is a done deal.
skerne park,does,nt need improving,there,s alot of nice people live there.it seems ,the houses is a done deal. perrow
  • Score: -1

7:14pm Wed 3 Sep 14

stiv says...

The influx of the many immigrants filling the housing will enhance the area.
The influx of the many immigrants filling the housing will enhance the area. stiv
  • Score: 1

7:20pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Teesflyer says...

Sorry to say but this looks like another DBC planning decision that is only going one way - the houses will be built. DBC are obviously hell bent on the development and the fatuous reply to an honest and valid question regarding a covenant displays, for the umpteenth time, DBC's lack of interest in the opinion of any resident or group of residents. Yet again, another contemptible display by DBC - but, hey-ho they don't have to answer to anyone so they'll keep getting away with it to their hearts (and wallets) content!
Sorry to say but this looks like another DBC planning decision that is only going one way - the houses will be built. DBC are obviously hell bent on the development and the fatuous reply to an honest and valid question regarding a covenant displays, for the umpteenth time, DBC's lack of interest in the opinion of any resident or group of residents. Yet again, another contemptible display by DBC - but, hey-ho they don't have to answer to anyone so they'll keep getting away with it to their hearts (and wallets) content! Teesflyer
  • Score: 9

7:33pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Teesflyer says...

Something to note from the meeting:

"The issue of a covenant on the land, believed to prevent it being used for housing, was raised but Ian Williams, the council’s assistant director for economic development, said a “solution had been found”, which was progressing."

My basic Wiki-check defines a covenant relating to land as:

"In property law, land-related covenants are called "real covenants" and are a major form of covenant, typically imposing restrictions on how the land may be used (negative covenants) or requiring a certain continuing action (affirmative covenant). These may also "run with the land" (called a covenant appurtenant), meaning that any future owners of the land must abide by the terms, or may apply to a particular person"

To me that seems a pretty tough bit of law to be dismissed by Ian Williams with a "solution had been found" without explaining how these legal geniuses have got around the covenant - perhaps they would like to expand?
Something to note from the meeting: "The issue of a covenant on the land, believed to prevent it being used for housing, was raised but Ian Williams, the council’s assistant director for economic development, said a “solution had been found”, which was progressing." My basic Wiki-check defines a covenant relating to land as: "In property law, land-related covenants are called "real covenants" and are a major form of covenant, typically imposing restrictions on how the land may be used (negative covenants) or requiring a certain continuing action (affirmative covenant). These may also "run with the land" (called a covenant appurtenant), meaning that any future owners of the land must abide by the terms, or may apply to a particular person" To me that seems a pretty tough bit of law to be dismissed by Ian Williams with a "solution had been found" without explaining how these legal geniuses have got around the covenant - perhaps they would like to expand? Teesflyer
  • Score: 11

8:48pm Wed 3 Sep 14

tillyshaw says...

Teesflyer wrote:
Sorry to say but this looks like another DBC planning decision that is only going one way - the houses will be built. DBC are obviously hell bent on the development and the fatuous reply to an honest and valid question regarding a covenant displays, for the umpteenth time, DBC's lack of interest in the opinion of any resident or group of residents. Yet again, another contemptible display by DBC - but, hey-ho they don't have to answer to anyone so they'll keep getting away with it to their hearts (and wallets) content!
DBC have withdrawn plans for 24 flats on Cocker Beck. My neighbours thought it wasn't worth fighting but we did.....and the current plans have been stopped. 'Pleased' is not the word !
[quote][p][bold]Teesflyer[/bold] wrote: Sorry to say but this looks like another DBC planning decision that is only going one way - the houses will be built. DBC are obviously hell bent on the development and the fatuous reply to an honest and valid question regarding a covenant displays, for the umpteenth time, DBC's lack of interest in the opinion of any resident or group of residents. Yet again, another contemptible display by DBC - but, hey-ho they don't have to answer to anyone so they'll keep getting away with it to their hearts (and wallets) content![/p][/quote]DBC have withdrawn plans for 24 flats on Cocker Beck. My neighbours thought it wasn't worth fighting but we did.....and the current plans have been stopped. 'Pleased' is not the word ! tillyshaw
  • Score: 7

9:16pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Teesflyer says...

tillyshaw wrote:
Teesflyer wrote:
Sorry to say but this looks like another DBC planning decision that is only going one way - the houses will be built. DBC are obviously hell bent on the development and the fatuous reply to an honest and valid question regarding a covenant displays, for the umpteenth time, DBC's lack of interest in the opinion of any resident or group of residents. Yet again, another contemptible display by DBC - but, hey-ho they don't have to answer to anyone so they'll keep getting away with it to their hearts (and wallets) content!
DBC have withdrawn plans for 24 flats on Cocker Beck. My neighbours thought it wasn't worth fighting but we did.....and the current plans have been stopped. 'Pleased' is not the word !
Thanks tillyshaw, perhaps your tactics and arguments could be used by others in similar circumstances. A good planning story for Darlington for a change...
[quote][p][bold]tillyshaw[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Teesflyer[/bold] wrote: Sorry to say but this looks like another DBC planning decision that is only going one way - the houses will be built. DBC are obviously hell bent on the development and the fatuous reply to an honest and valid question regarding a covenant displays, for the umpteenth time, DBC's lack of interest in the opinion of any resident or group of residents. Yet again, another contemptible display by DBC - but, hey-ho they don't have to answer to anyone so they'll keep getting away with it to their hearts (and wallets) content![/p][/quote]DBC have withdrawn plans for 24 flats on Cocker Beck. My neighbours thought it wasn't worth fighting but we did.....and the current plans have been stopped. 'Pleased' is not the word ![/p][/quote]Thanks tillyshaw, perhaps your tactics and arguments could be used by others in similar circumstances. A good planning story for Darlington for a change... Teesflyer
  • Score: 6

9:31pm Wed 3 Sep 14

maw.si says...

Teesflyer wrote:
Something to note from the meeting:

"The issue of a covenant on the land, believed to prevent it being used for housing, was raised but Ian Williams, the council’s assistant director for economic development, said a “solution had been found”, which was progressing."

My basic Wiki-check defines a covenant relating to land as:

"In property law, land-related covenants are called "real covenants" and are a major form of covenant, typically imposing restrictions on how the land may be used (negative covenants) or requiring a certain continuing action (affirmative covenant). These may also "run with the land" (called a covenant appurtenant), meaning that any future owners of the land must abide by the terms, or may apply to a particular person"

To me that seems a pretty tough bit of law to be dismissed by Ian Williams with a "solution had been found" without explaining how these legal geniuses have got around the covenant - perhaps they would like to expand?
the covenant placed on the land means nothing these days, it was drawn up years ago and the law has changed so much its not worth the paper its written on, remember Darlington has a serious lack of social housing and need build more,(according to the council anyway)
Green field sites can be built on as long as its not being used,
so basically if its got a park for children with swings and stuff its difficult to build houses on it,
if no facilities on it then wave goodbye to your green open space.
also more housing within the borough means more money through council tax, which in turn bridges the gap of the funding that has been reduced by central government.
[quote][p][bold]Teesflyer[/bold] wrote: Something to note from the meeting: "The issue of a covenant on the land, believed to prevent it being used for housing, was raised but Ian Williams, the council’s assistant director for economic development, said a “solution had been found”, which was progressing." My basic Wiki-check defines a covenant relating to land as: "In property law, land-related covenants are called "real covenants" and are a major form of covenant, typically imposing restrictions on how the land may be used (negative covenants) or requiring a certain continuing action (affirmative covenant). These may also "run with the land" (called a covenant appurtenant), meaning that any future owners of the land must abide by the terms, or may apply to a particular person" To me that seems a pretty tough bit of law to be dismissed by Ian Williams with a "solution had been found" without explaining how these legal geniuses have got around the covenant - perhaps they would like to expand?[/p][/quote]the covenant placed on the land means nothing these days, it was drawn up years ago and the law has changed so much its not worth the paper its written on, remember Darlington has a serious lack of social housing and need build more,(according to the council anyway) Green field sites can be built on as long as its not being used, so basically if its got a park for children with swings and stuff its difficult to build houses on it, if no facilities on it then wave goodbye to your green open space. also more housing within the borough means more money through council tax, which in turn bridges the gap of the funding that has been reduced by central government. maw.si
  • Score: 3

10:50pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Teesflyer says...

maw.si wrote:
Teesflyer wrote:
Something to note from the meeting:

"The issue of a covenant on the land, believed to prevent it being used for housing, was raised but Ian Williams, the council’s assistant director for economic development, said a “solution had been found”, which was progressing."

My basic Wiki-check defines a covenant relating to land as:

"In property law, land-related covenants are called "real covenants" and are a major form of covenant, typically imposing restrictions on how the land may be used (negative covenants) or requiring a certain continuing action (affirmative covenant). These may also "run with the land" (called a covenant appurtenant), meaning that any future owners of the land must abide by the terms, or may apply to a particular person"

To me that seems a pretty tough bit of law to be dismissed by Ian Williams with a "solution had been found" without explaining how these legal geniuses have got around the covenant - perhaps they would like to expand?
the covenant placed on the land means nothing these days, it was drawn up years ago and the law has changed so much its not worth the paper its written on, remember Darlington has a serious lack of social housing and need build more,(according to the council anyway)
Green field sites can be built on as long as its not being used,
so basically if its got a park for children with swings and stuff its difficult to build houses on it,
if no facilities on it then wave goodbye to your green open space.
also more housing within the borough means more money through council tax, which in turn bridges the gap of the funding that has been reduced by central government.
Hi maw.si - I know your're probably correct with the current standing of the covenant, albeit a shame, but my point is why do we have to have such an important explanation given by a "reader" (no disrespect) rather than from DBC who are steamrollering these applications through without having the decency to explain their reasons to concerned residents?
[quote][p][bold]maw.si[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Teesflyer[/bold] wrote: Something to note from the meeting: "The issue of a covenant on the land, believed to prevent it being used for housing, was raised but Ian Williams, the council’s assistant director for economic development, said a “solution had been found”, which was progressing." My basic Wiki-check defines a covenant relating to land as: "In property law, land-related covenants are called "real covenants" and are a major form of covenant, typically imposing restrictions on how the land may be used (negative covenants) or requiring a certain continuing action (affirmative covenant). These may also "run with the land" (called a covenant appurtenant), meaning that any future owners of the land must abide by the terms, or may apply to a particular person" To me that seems a pretty tough bit of law to be dismissed by Ian Williams with a "solution had been found" without explaining how these legal geniuses have got around the covenant - perhaps they would like to expand?[/p][/quote]the covenant placed on the land means nothing these days, it was drawn up years ago and the law has changed so much its not worth the paper its written on, remember Darlington has a serious lack of social housing and need build more,(according to the council anyway) Green field sites can be built on as long as its not being used, so basically if its got a park for children with swings and stuff its difficult to build houses on it, if no facilities on it then wave goodbye to your green open space. also more housing within the borough means more money through council tax, which in turn bridges the gap of the funding that has been reduced by central government.[/p][/quote]Hi maw.si - I know your're probably correct with the current standing of the covenant, albeit a shame, but my point is why do we have to have such an important explanation given by a "reader" (no disrespect) rather than from DBC who are steamrollering these applications through without having the decency to explain their reasons to concerned residents? Teesflyer
  • Score: 5

12:47am Thu 4 Sep 14

Spy Boy says...

By social housing, DBC obviously want us to think of them as a philanthropic council looking to benefit the worse off. This is 100% BS. This council follows the Self First policy every time. The first question being "How do we benefit from this?"
By social housing, DBC obviously want us to think of them as a philanthropic council looking to benefit the worse off. This is 100% BS. This council follows the Self First policy every time. The first question being "How do we benefit from this?" Spy Boy
  • Score: 8
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