Gar­den vil­lage a step closer


The Chronicle - - News - By MICHAEL MUNCASTER Re­porter [email protected]­i­tymir­ @MichaelMjourno

THOU­SANDS of new jobs could be cre­ated as plans for a 2,000-home gar­den vil­lage scheme in Northum­ber­land move a step closer.

New­cas­tle’s Lugano De­vel­op­ments Ltd wants to build hous­ing and other fa­cil­i­ties on land at Diss­ing­ton, near Pon­te­land.

The scheme could cre­ate more than 2,000 jobs on site, a fur­ther 3,600 con­struc­tion jobs and see around £90m of pri­vate in­vest­ment in the county’s in­fra­struc­ture, the de­vel­oper said.

The plans were granted “out­line” plan­ning per­mis­sion by Northum­ber­land County Coun­cil, ap­prov­ing it in prin­ci­ple.

But the pro­pos­als faced stren­u­ous op­po­si­tion from cam­paign­ers who claim the large num­ber of homes will swamp roads, schools and other ser­vices.

The cam­paign­ers say the vil­lage can­not cope with the mas­sive in­crease in pop­u­la­tion the new homes would bring.

Richard Rob­son, chair­man of Lugano De­vel­op­ments Ltd, said: “We’ve had pos­i­tive meet­ings about im­prove­ments it will make to the in­fra­struc­ture and roads like the A696.

“We had a meet­ing with the air­port just last week to go through the finer de­tails.

“We hope to have the fi­nal few de­tails signed off in the next few weeks then hope­fully work with the coun­cil to take it for­ward.”

New­cas­tle City Coun­cil and New­cas­tle Air­port have both been con­sulted over the plans.

A New­cas­tle City Coun­cil spokesman said: “We raised some con­cerns with the orig­i­nal ap­pli­ca­tion when it was pre­sented to Northum­ber­land’s plan­ning com­mit­tee back in March.

“We have re­cently been con­sulted on the re­vised ap­pli­ca­tion and will be re­spond­ing in due course.

“We would be will­ing to dis­cuss the mat­ter with Lugano but have not had any re­cent dis­cus­sions with the com­pany.”

A New­cas­tle Air­port spokesman said: “We can con­firm that we are in dis­cus­sions with Lugano re­gard­ing the pro­posed Diss­ing­ton gar­den vil­lage and these talks are on­go­ing.” In April this year around 200 peo­ple gath­ered for a protest against the plans.

Lugano said around 600 of the prop­er­ties will be af­ford­able and there will be starter homes and sup­ported hous­ing for the el­derly. Re­tail, sports and med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties are also part of the plans, while there would be 130 hectares of pub­lic open space with sports pitches, park­land and walk­ing and cy­cle routes.

Mr Rob­son said: “The Gov­ern­ment bud­get has in­creased na­tional hous­ing tar­gets once again, re­flect­ing the broad con­sen­sus that more homes are des­per­ately needed for younger gen­er­a­tions.

“The de­ci­sion by the county coun­cil to give Diss­ing­ton the green light is there­fore in tune with na­tional pol­icy as well as with lo­cal pub­lic opin­ion.

“It will be an ex­cep­tional new com­mu­nity with a sig­nif­i­cant amount of new jobs.

“We are hop­ing to make a start dur­ing the late part of the next year.”

It will be an ex­cep­tional new com­mu­nity with a sig­nif­i­cant amount of new jobs Richard Rob­son, Lugano De­vel­op­ments Ltd

Artist’s im­pres­sion of Pon­te­land Gar­den Vil­lage

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