A MAJOR new multi-million pound housing development in South Tyneside, which has been more than a decade in the planning, is on hold yet again.
The future of a large area of undeveloped land south of Orwell Close, on the Biddick Hall estate in South Shields, has long been up for debate.
At one stage there was even talk of it becoming an official borough site for travelling people.
Then in 1999, South Tyneside Council first agreed to set the land aside for housing.
And three years later, nine bungalows were built on part of the site.
Persimmon Homes subsequently submitted another application to build 107 houses on the remaining land in June 2003, but later withdrew the plan.
Now, a decade later, the firm is still waiting to receive the green light for its latest housing bid.
Approval had been recommended to build 148 new homes on the site when members of the council’s Planning Committee met earlier this week.
But a decision was deferred as a result of claims that the proposed access route into the site via Orwell Close was too narrow and would result in excessive traffic congestion.
Persimmon Homes said it had consulted residents, and concluded that the point was the only viable access.
A spokesman said: “This is a development which will provide significant economic benefits to the area.
“In addition, 25 per cent of the properties will be made up of affordable housing.”
Committee members deferred the application to let Persimmon and council planners discuss the possibility of an alternative access route.
Coun Gladys Hobson, who represents West Park for Labour, said: “This small access road raises concerns over nuisance and noise and it’s right that the developer is asked again to take a look at this.”
Labour’s Coun Olive Punchion, who represents Biddick and All Saints, had earlier welcomed the development, saying: “South Shields is short of land for new homes and this land has been earmarked for this use for some time.”
The proposed development would comprise 90 three-bedroom semi-detached and terraced homes, 28 three-bedroom homes, 21 four-bedroom detached homes and a further nine two-bedroom properties.
A COUPLE living near the proposed development are moving out to avoid “two years of misery”.
They are leaving their bungalow in Orwell Close before work on the new estate begins.
The couple do not want to be identified, but the wife, 64, said: “I couldn’t face all the lorries coming across here and all the muck and disturbance. We don’t want two years of misery.
“My husband has health concerns and an ambulance comes to take him to the Freeman Hospital.
“I was worried emergency vehicles wouldn’t be able to get to us with all the upheaval around. That’s why we’ve decided to move on.”
Jeff Moorhouse, also of Orwell Close, has urged the developer to establish an alternative access route via Benton Road.
He believes the proposed access would result in an excessive increase in traffic and raise safety concerns for children attending a local primary school.
Mr Moorhouse said: “We’re not against the housing development; the main problem is the access, which at no more than five metres can in no way accommodate the level of traffic.
“An access from Benton Road would be a more sensible option, creating a wider plant access road and less disruption to residents.”
Mr Moorhouse also expressed concern that fencing at the rear of his bungalow would be inadequate to protect his privacy.