‘Developer should be forced to pay’
Last updated at 12:33, Thursday, 13 December 2012
DEVELOPER Gentoo Homes has been accused of breaking promises after it avoided having to invest £20,000 in play facilities at Prudhoe.
The Sunderland-based firm was last week given the go-ahead to add five more homes to its existing 60-home housing development at the 26-acre Prudhoe Hospital site.
But now Gentoo has asked Northumberland County Council if a proportion of its financial contribution towards on-site play provision, which is a planning obligation and amounts to £20,000, can be waived.
The developers say no further play facilities are needed at the site, and has instead offered to make a contribution of just over £7,000 towards sports facilities in the area.
This has been accepted by the county’s west area planning committee, as Gentoo has already paid over the odds for play provision covering the 60 homes now under construction.
However, Prudhoe Town Council feels Gentoo should be made to cough up the extra cash anyway.
Chairing last Wednesday’s town council meeting, town mayor Coun. Tony Reid said: “It is a tale of broken promises. We are not happy with it and we should ask for them to stand by their commitment.
“When they originally made a planning application, they were going to build a care village.
“They withdrew that and came forward with another proposal for five executive houses.
“Now they are saying that the money which was originally coming to Prudhoe is not coming.”
Coun. Reid said the promise of financial investment was a key element of the latest planning application.
He added: “At this early stage in the process they are changing their plan, and the benefit to the community has been withdrawn.
“It is disappointing because we have a big site and we want to develop it, but certainly the community should get something out of it.”
Coun. Jennifer McGee said the town council should fight for the money to be paid to avoid a precedent being set for future developments.
Coun. Eileen Burt said: “The money was part of the planning application. This is a prime site in Prudhoe and we do not agree with Gentoo’s request.”
Gentoo’s head of land, planning and development, Colin Wood, said: “I think there may be some confusion over the initial plans and we certainly don’t want anyone to feel that we have misled them in any way.
“The first phase of development at the site includes on site play provision, which is sufficient to meet the needs of the additional five dwellings.
“As the existing site provides the required play provision for the additional units, a further contribution towards off site play provision is not required.”
First published at 07:41, Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk
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