Published: Thursday, 2nd June 2016
Outline proposals for a 550 home development at Ingleby Barwick allowed after government reconsideration of appeal decision…
Bob Cook, the leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, has reacted angrily to Community Secretary Greg Clark’s decision to allow an appeal over outline proposals by developer Tiviot Way Investments Ltd for 550 homes on land at Ingleby Barwick.
The scheme has had a chequered planning history over the past two years. It was originally refused permission on appeal by Clark’s predecessor, Sir Eric Pickles, following rejection by the council in June 2014.
However a successful High Court challenge led to a ruling quashing that determination which has now been reconsidered. Clark’s stance was in line with the recommendation of the inspector who held the public inquiry.
Both the council and local residents had insisted that the appeal site was part of a designated green wedge. Clark and the inspector disagreed. They also insisted that the development would not undermine the separation of Ingleby Barwick and Thornaby.
Councillor Bob Cook said: “It’s farcical. The government has done so many U-turns on this it’s enough to make you feel dizzy.
“Shortly before last year’s General Election they bucked their established trend of overturning our local planning decisions by actually supporting our rejection of this unnecessary development.
“This change of heart makes that seem very hollow indeed, and makes a mockery of government rhetoric about devolution and local decision making.
“We have already paid hefty High Court and legal costs of more than £100,000 defending planning decisions in the Low Lane area of Ingleby Barwick at a time when there is extreme pressure on the council’s budgets.
“We have always maintained that planning decisions are best made locally and not in accordance with inappropriate national guidance.”