New homes could be built on green belt land after two sports club in Northumberland struck a deal with a developer.
Hexham Golf Club and Tynedale Athletic Association, home of Tynedale Cricket Club, own adjoining pieces of unused land which could be developed for new homes by Teesside-based builders Jomast. The developers said they intended to build “luxury and affordable” homes on the 1.9-hectare site and golf club chairman Roger Tirrell said the venture would help to “invest for the future and provide the local community with much improved sports.”
But Roger Higgins, chairman of the Hexham Civic Society, said they had hoped any new development would avoid the “deletion of green belt land.”
He said: “We’ve not been consulted on the sale but we would be seeing any proposals and judge it on its merits.”
The land lies east of the allotments in Eilansgate, Hexham, and encompasses a narrow strip of grass next to the cricket club and a huge swathe of the nearby golf course site.
Officials from Jomast said they were in negotiations with Northumberland County Council with a view to submitting plans by August 2014. If granted, construction work could begin as early as spring 2015.
The company’s development director, Adam Hearld, said the move would create jobs in the local economy but confirmed “the majority of the golf course land” was designated greenbelt.
He said: “We are very aware of public opinion and we’ve got to deal with it sensitively. But equally it’s not prime greenbelt land and to a large degree we’ve got to focus on the benefits they will bring to the local community, which are quite significant.”
Hexham Golf Club’s Roger Tirrell said the development would allow the golf, cricket, hockey and tennis clubs to invest for the future and provide the local community with much improved sports facilities.
He said: “The development put forward by Jomast is in partnership with Hexham Golf Club and Tynedale Athletic Association and will ensure the future success of all clubs. The capital received will provide a much needed boost and could guarantee survival for many, many years to come.
“The land earmarked in the proposals is unused therefore this is an excellent opportunity for all involved and we hope that members of the public will get behind the scheme and help us to achieve it.”
Mr Hearld said: “We are very much in the preliminary stages of the planning and development process but having worked closely with Hexham Golf Club and Tynedale Athletics Association, we are confident of securing permission for a scheme that is sensitive to the local environment.
“The development will be a real boost for the community and its economy in terms of providing much needed homes, creating new jobs and allowing the Clubs to fund and deliver future sports facilities.”
A planning application for the scheme is currently being prepared and a public consultation exercise is to be held over the forthcoming months.