Following the Public Inquiry last year the Planning Inspector reduced a very thorough report, and it was clear that any objections to the new plans would need to be supported by the report. Although the new design is an improvement on the previous application, retaining more mature trees and preserving open space around Hawthorns House, the Parish Council remains concerned about the number of houses and the density of the development, but as the Planning Inspector did not consider this to be an issue the Parish Council did not feel it could object on those grounds.
The Parish Council’s main objection to the first draft of the new plans was the houses in the green open space that would affect the setting of Hawthorns House and The Villa, both locally listed buildings. We entered into discussion with the University and following several meetings and a site visit the University removed these houses from the plans. The revised plans for the Hawthorns/Barnes development went to the Planning Committee at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council on 5th January 2016.
Tony Kearon, Wenslie Naylon and Val Newman all addressed the Planning Committee and requested conditions be attached to any planning permission granted. The opportunity was also taken to inform the Committee members of the various concerns that residents have, although they might not be considered “planning” objections.
The Planning Committee voted to grant permission and agreed to 2 additional conditions that we requested, namely a restriction on the houses becoming Houses of Multiple Occupation, as the aim is to increase the family housing supply in the Borough, and also that there would be a presumption in favour of hedges for boundary treatments. The latter will hopefully help to retain the green parkland feel of the area and also help to absorb water from the ground.
The Barnes development has to be completed before work starts at Hawthorns, and this is scheduled for completion by September 2017. In the meantime there may be some investigative work done at Hawthorns to satisfy the requirements of the planning permission, but no demolition will take place and no trees should be removed unless they are diseased.