Planning & engagement
|Size of site
|Number of new homes
|Number of private homes
|Number of affordable homes
|Start of build
|Anticipated completion of build
While preparing our designs for the development, we carried out extensive community engagement with local people, local schools, Barnard Castle Town Council and Marwood Parish Council. Community engagement events were organised, in conjunction with each council, in October and November 2011. In order to maximise attendance at both events we placed adverts in the Teesdale Mercury newspaper and posted invitations through the letterboxes of surrounding homes. At each event we committed to producing a newsletter, summarising all the issues raised and explaining how we changed our design and proposals in response. This was given to everyone who had contacted us or had attended the events, before we submitted our planning application. Our initial proposals changed in several key ways so that we could deliver a development that the opinions and needs of local people had influenced and which would be in keeping with the surrounding area.
Making homes affordable to local young people
Durham County Council’s affordable housing policies required that, of the 30 affordable properties to be provided on the development, 80% should be for social rent and 20% for intermediate tenure. However, during the community engagement events local people expressed strong views that young people born and bred in the town were unable to afford homes in Barnard Castle and were being forced to move to neighbouring areas where property prices are lower. We explained this concern to the county council and they adjusted the balance of the tenures so that 50% of the affordable homes will be intermediate tenure homes. These 15 homes will be discounted from full market value and appropriately priced for first-time buyers.
Our update newsletter was distributed in February 2012. The changes to our proposals that it highlighted included:
- Using locally sourced stone for six homes at key focal points. Bricks for the other homes will be sourced from nearby Bishop Auckland;
- Positioning seven bungalows, rather than two storey houses, on the slope behind the existing houses along Darlington Road, meaning that views from these existing houses will not be blocked; and
- Changing the tenure of the affordable homes.
Our detailed planning application received full support from Barnard Castle Town Council and a councillor spoke in favour of it before the planning committee at Durham County Council. The committee approved the application in May 2012. After achieving planning consent, we negotiated the Section 106 planning agreement, which details the requirements for affordable housing and for small allotment gardens to be gifted to either Marwood Parish Council or Barnard Castle Town Council.
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