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HOME ESTATE: More safety fears for Yarm youngsters

HOME ESTATE: More safety fears for Yarm youngsters

Theakston estates wants to create a 300 home estate off Green Lane, Image: Theakston/Google maps

Fears for the safety of Teesside youngsters have reared their head once again with more homes coming to Yarm.

Councillors voted seven to four to approve detailed plans for 100 new homes south of Green Lane, in Yarm, on Wednesday.

But there were repeated concerns about schoolchildren and pedestrians coming from Kirklevington having to negotiate 60mph traffic on the A67.

Theakston Estates saw outline plans for the new estate approved in 2017, meaning the principle for the new estate had already been secured.

However, 14 objections were lodged over worries traffic will increase on Yarm’s busy roads, as well as concern over the “over-development” of the area.

Kirklevington resident David Bell had misgivings about the cumulative effect of rising traffic on the A67, and children safely cycling and walking to Conyers School.

“Another recent application highlighted the need for a safe cycle route,” said Mr Bell.

“But Stockton Council has advised such a facility was not viable due to geometric constraints.

“Might I suggest that Mont Blanc is a geometric constraint, but if enough imagination and financial planning is applied, a solution can always be found.”

Mr Bell also wanted to see landowners benefiting from the new homes give something back to the community, before requesting a new cycle route and path  from Kirklevington to Green Lane and Conyers School.

“A safe pedestrian crossing must be provided at the Shell roundabout and all work needs to be completed before the occupation of the 50th home,” he added.

Conditions were attached to the 100 home estate four years ago, including a new access junction from the A67, work at the Crathorne Interchange, and a new light controlled crossing on Green Lane.

A total of 15% of homes will also be classed as “affordable”.

Planning officer Simon Grundy told councillors up to 100 homes had been lined up for the land in Stockton’s “local plan” document for developments in the borough.

He added traffic impacts, loss of greenfield, and the over-development of Yarm couldn’t be considered in the “reserved matters” application.

Agent Neil Westwick, for the applicant Theakston, said drainage concerns about run-off from the nearby prison had been addressed through talks and amending the position of a new draining pond.

He added: “There are no outstanding matters which cannot be addressed by a planning condition and we urge you to approve this application.”

The committee heard a footpath would be provided on the new 100 home estate to Green Lane.

Road safety officer Joanne Roberts added there was no reason children from Kirklevington couldn’t walk along the A67, walk through the new estate, and use a new crossing lined up on Green Lane to reach Conyers.

But Yarm independent Cllr Andrew Sherris told the committee of concerns about “trigger points” for the infrastructure work starting.

He said the Green Lane crossing was significant, and believed many deals struck with developers saw paths, crossings, and other works delivered “far too far down the line”.

Cllr Sherris added: “It’s a significant factor that we’re going to have people living there and students from Conyers who are probably going to have to wait two years until the 50th dwelling (is built).”

Cllr Dan Fagan, Conservative member for Yarm, said he’d had lots of complaints about the safety of youngsters walking along the A67 and then on to Conyers.

“There have been questions about the road safety and cars going at 60mph,” he added.

“This question of a safe cycle route comes up time and time again.”

Cllr Fagan added people had requested a crossing near the Shell garage for years, and wanted this so youngsters and pedestrians could choose their route.

But officers said infrastructure, crossings and paths had already been agreed at the previous planning stage.

Theakston proposals to build 300 homes on the same stretch east of the railway line were refused over the summer.

The planning committee judged the larger estate would cause safety problems and the widening of Leven Road would have an “unacceptable impact”.

An appeal has been lodged and five days of public hearings will be held starting on November 15.


Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter

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