Park funding row resolved so housing can be built
PLANS to build 14 homes on the site of a former industrial building have been given the go-ahead – despite the developer refusing to donate money for improvements to a park.
Regenisis wants to demolish Midland House, in London Road, Chesterton, to make way for the development.
The plans include nine two-bedroom homes, three three-bedroom homes, one one-bedroom flat and one two-bedroom flat as well as 22 car parking spaces and two retail units.
The application was recommended for refusal after the developer claimed they were unwilling to make a financial contribution of £41,202 for improvements to Chesterton Park.
But councillors agreed to grant outline planning permission because 'something desperately needs to be done' with the building.
Ward councillor Michael Clarke, said: "There have been problems with this building over the past four or five years and we are in desperate need of some sort of development on that site. This could be the start of getting rid of the derelict old buildings and putting in some new properties.
"We need this sort of development because the people of Chesterton deserve a little better."
Councillor Sandra Hambleton added: "We are short of housing, so we need to come to an agreement."
The agreement means Regenisis will not have to make a contribution if the project is completed by January 2016.
But, if the work has not started by then, Newcastle Borough Council will attempt to compromise a section 106 agreement for the park funding before the project can be carried out.
Regenisis claim it is unable to donate the funds due to the current economic climate.
A report to the committee states: "Subject to securing the specified developer contribution for off-site public open space, the development would be acceptable."
Grandfather Mick Timmis, aged 51, from Chesterton said: "I think it is quite mean spirited of them to withdraw the money from the park. It could really do with the money to make a lot of improvements."
The voluntary worker from Church Street believes an investment in Chesterton Park would encourage people to use it again.
He said: "The money could have gone towards improving the ground to stop it getting waterlogged and provide an area for the young ones to go."