Limbo goes on for house developer in planning row.
Byline: Chris Knight Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org @C_M_Knight
APLANNING row over a Gateshead housing development remains locked in a stalemate. Work on the Windermere Green site, off Portobello Road in Birtley, had already begun, with the first of the 63 planned homes put up for sale last summer.
But the future of the development was plunged into doubt after Gateshead Council issued Gleeson Homes with a stop notice on November 29 last year, forcing the developer to halt work on the site.
House buyers had their reservation fees returned, and 30 building workers were made redundant as a result of the notice.
The authority's stop notice finished on Boxing Day, but the continuing stand-off over planning conditions and proposed gravel driveways means no further work has been carried out since.
A Gleeson Homes spokesperson said: "We will not be building any homes on this site until the council gives us permission to install our environmentally friendly gravel drives."
The developer branded Gateshead Council's decision as "disappointing", stating that it had received approval on 60 other sites across the North of England.
Gateshead Council previously told The Journal the stop notice was issued over several planning conditions allegedly ignored by the developer on issues of flooding and traffic noise - not just the gravel driveways.
A spokesperson for the authority described the problems at the Windermere Green site as being of Gleeson's "own making". The spokesperson said: "Before Christmas we sought assurances from Gleeson Homes that it would not restart work on this site until we had resolved the outstanding issues with their planning permission.
"We have made a further request for assurances to be given and are also investigating the legal options available to us.
"All of this could have been avoided if the company had dealt with their obligations under the planning permission as they are legally obliged to do. Their problems are very much of their own making." Reservations for the mixture of two-, three-, and four-bed houses, starting from PS116,195, had already been snapped up by eager buyers.
One buyer, who did not wish to be named, told The Journal they found out the news a day after the stop notice was issued.
The buyer said: "We were shocked when we got the news; we could not believe what was happening.
"To be honest, I'm not sure I would like to buy the house now following this experience."
Gateshead Council halted work on the Windermere Green development in Birtley in November