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Existing Threats to Nunthorpe

Grey Towers Farm, 295 housing development.

10 July 2013

With the recent approval of the Phase 1 planning application for 123 houses the developer is now in a position to tear up the fields of Grey Towers Farm to build his mini housing estate. With the housing market as it is at the moment and probably for a long time to come who knows when Phase 2 will be seeking approval. 

The advantage to the developer in not immediately going for the original 295 houses at this time is that they can delay their commitment to their s106 obligations for those items which occur after 150 houses. However as the legal agreement has been signed and sealed whoever decides to pick up the Phase 2 - and it may not be David Wilson Homes - the s106 obligations will stay with the land and the eventual owner if DWH flees the scene.

The S106 contributions for Grey Towers Farm are as follows for Phase 1 only:  (bear in mind Phase 1 is only 123 houses, who knows if the other 172 houses will ever be built and the remainder of the s106 monies will ever be paid). The following figures in black are those shown in the legal deed for the 295 house proposal and those in red are those achievable with 123 houses.

Affordable Housing: £4.5 million  (Para 2 - after 70 houses = £900,000)

Highways: £3.6 million  (Para 1 - after 20 houses = £500,000, after 40 houses = £300,000, after 100 houses  
                                     = £700,000. N.B. However, the legal deed has a contradiction here, later in the document
                                     para 8.1 it states that the Highway contribution will be paid at commencement of

Education :  £750 thousand  (Para 3 -  NB only after 150 houses = £350,000, it is unlikely this will ever be seen)

Sport and Recreation: £100 thousand  (Para 7 - to be paid to Nunthorpe (???) on commencement of development)

Marton Library: £200 thousand  (Para 4 - to be paid to MBC against Marton Library running costs on
                                               commencement of
development, released annually over a 10 year period)

The sport and recreation contribution was originally calculated on the basis of how many sports pitches would be required at the proposed Prissick Sports Centre to meet the needs of the residents of the scheme, multiplied by the approximate cost of providing the pitches (i.e. = 2 x £50,000).  

The Marton Library contribution was originally proposed as £20,000 a year for ten years to help continue providing library services in this part of the town.  As there is no library in Nunthorpe, and that at Marton is probably the closest (and part of the development is within Marton West ward) it was felt best to direct the contribution there.  It was not feasible to seek a contribution to provide a library within Nunthorpe, particularly given the budgetry restrictions facing the Council.

To be honest the whole situation is a bit of a pig's ear - with apologies to the pig for misrepresentation.

May 2013

The full planning application (reserved matters) M/RES/0403/13/P for the Grey Towers Farm has been submittted to the Council planners for Phase 1 of the development (123 houses) and is presently under public consultation. The consultation date is due to finish on 17 May but the planners have allowed an extension of two weeks, perhaps more. 

At their earlier public exhibitions the developers had vehemently stated they would be building an "executive" estate fit for Nunthorpe, designed to attract both business leaders from outside the area and aspirants in the area wishing to move to a better class of neighbourhood. How sad to see that now they have got their way planning-wise, it is their intention to foist on the community a second-rate housing estate complete with terraced housing, semi-detached houses - hardly an "executive" dreamworld for people who may have been willing to shell out pots of money for a  lttle bit of housing class. 

I suggest the development is not fit for purpose and as much as the communities of Nunthorpe and Marton West didn't want the development in the first place they are incredibly disappointed they may be seeing another Ingleby Barwick disaster on their doorstep (with all due respect to the residents of Ingleby Barwick (but even Stockton Council is now admitting it hasn't turned out the way they visualised).

December 2012

It looks like goodbye to the Grey Towers Farm green fields.
Middlesbrough Council planning officers have sealed the fate of Grey Towers Farm by finally approving the Grey Towers Farm Outline planning application. The developer, David Wilson Homes, has already stated they intend to start work on the site in May 2013 so they must have their Full planning Application ready to submit soonest.

Its now time to worry about the section 106 monies that should be coming to the impacted community of Nunthorpe. The developer has to enter a legal agreement with Middlesbrough Council at some time soon showing the donations they will ma
ke to Middlesbrough Council.

Proposed Delivery of S106

 The following was agreed at an MBC/developer meeting (no community representation)  in August 2011.

 Off-site Highways contribution of £3.5m, which will be payable at various stages throughout the development, as follows:- (this money is to be used to widen Stainton Way from the A172 traffic lights up to the Hemlington Roundabout).

 Upon occupation of:

x70 dwellings = £700,000

x120 dwellings = £700,000

x170 dwellings = £700,000

x220 dwelling = £700,000

x270 dwellings = £700,000


An Off-site Housing contribution

Off site contribution of £4.5m that is to be used to fund affordable houses

within the administration area of Middlesbrough Borough Council, which will

be payable at various stages throughout development, as follows:-

  Upon Occupation of:

x70 dwellings = £900,000

x120 dwellings = £900,000

x170 dwellings = £900,000

x220 dwellings = £900,000

x270 dwellings = £900,000

 Community Building in GTF (now unlikely to be provided by the developer)

The Community Building was to be provided upon occupation of

the 150th dwelling but has now, apparently, been withdrawn by the developer.


An off site contribution of £750,000 to fund the provision of two new

classrooms at Chandlers Ridge Primary School,

  payable upon the occupation of:-

x150 dwellings = £350,000

x200 dwellings = £400,000 


An off-site contribution of £100,000 to increase the capacity of an existing

sports facilities:-

Payable upon occupation of:-

x150 dwellings = £50,000

x200 dwellings = £50,000

   (NB This money was originally meant for the proposed (pie in the sky) Prissick Sports Centre but the Nunthorpe community fought to have it reallocated for use in Nunthorpe. A suitable location is still being sought.


 details of the provision of the landscaping / POS will be provided and

agreed as part of the reserved matters application.

The on site landscaping / POS will be delivered as an integral part of each

development phase, and will be delivered on phased basis ie, upon the

occupation of the 50th dwelling of each phase, ensuring that the vision for the

scheme is not compromised.

 A later addition was made of £200,000 s106 money for the continuance of Marton Library, possibly at the urging of Marton Ward Councillors. 

16 October 2012

David Wilson Homes has advised they will be making a public exhibition
of themselves at the Methodist Church on Friday 09 November. They will be exhibiting their latest Masterplan for the estate and the final house designs. It is anticipated they will be submitting their Full planning application soon afterwards after taking on board the community's comment (or not as the case may be). They have stated in the local media they hope to start work on the site in spring 2013.

09 October 2012

 Latest news on GTF - MP, Tom Blenkinsop, refers this planning application to the National Planning Casework Unit as an MP call-in.
Middlesbrough Council has assembled all the relevant information for onpassing to the National Planning Casework Unit (Secretary of State's office). At least we hope they have. On our last check with the Council they stated they were sending a summarised version of the resident's objection statement - this sounds very much like editing to me!  The Inspectors in the SoS office are a bright bunch of cookies and I am sure they will see through 2 pages of summarised objection statement won't accurately reflect the hundreds of pages of objections submitted to the Council planning officers. We are not sure how long the review of the documents will take before the NPCU Inspectors decide to pass it onto the SoS for a call-in decision, or not as the case may be.

If the call-in is rejected we should then be prepared to challenge any subsequent s106 developer's contribution if the majority of the funding allocation is not coming back to the Nunthorpe and Marton West communities.

07 September 2012

With the Highways Agency decision almost imminent in preventing Middlesbrough Council from making a final "approved" decision on this application, the local MP, Tom Blenkinsop, operated his right to call-in this application to the Secretary of State for an Article 25 investigation. The Secretary for State's office has directed Middlesbrough Council not to make a decision on this application without their specific authorisation. The Council has been requested to submit all documents pertaining to the application, including all those received from residents in the impacted community - petitions, objection statement, letters on highway problems, s106 discussions etc.

The process of receiving and evaluating these documents by the SoS's office would normally take six weeks. A decision will then be made to either reject the call-in as unsubstantiated or to be passed forward to the SoS himself. The SoS could then either deal with it immediately or order an Inquiry.

The status of the Highways Agency came about from a recent request for information under a Freedom of Information request. The HA advised they had come to an agreement with the developers of all five developments presently under a "minded to approve" non-decision pending the Highways Agency decision. Apparently the impact from these developments, according to the HA, is some relatively minor engineering works on the A174/A19 interchange traffic lights  - it has taken 17 months for the HA and the developers to achieve this result - the mind boggles!

Under a normal "minded to approve" situation the final "approve" decision for the involved applications is for a Planning Oficer to make a delegated decision in the Planning Officer once he is satisfied with removal of the technical difficulty (in this case the HA fix on the A174/A19 interchange). The applications would not be referred back to the Planning Committee, thus robbing the impacted communities to further voice their apprehension against the applications in a public Planning Committee arena.

Its going to be an interesting six weeks or so - anything to delay the theft of our green fields around Nunthorpe.

April, 2012

The Grey Towers Farm campaign commenced in August 2010  following an announcement in the Evening Gazette advising David Wilson Homes wished to build 400 executive homes on the Grey Towers Farm site. The developer held a public exhibition where they were thoroughly trashed by an angry community who had no wish at all to lose these green fields to inappropriate housing. 

The developers came back with a second exhibition where they had reduced the number of houses down to 295 (cynical beggars). The community again trashed their proposals, especially their proposed highway "improvements" to cure the Marton Road Crawl - they were sent off with a flea in their ear.  

The community organised two well attended public meetings, organised a referendum on the proposal (96% against), circulated a number of leaflets to all the houses in both Nuthorpes and Marton West and advised residents on how to prepare an adequate Objection Statement.

Eventually a planning application was submitted in March  2011. A large number of Objection Statements were submitted, the Mayor was presented with a 3,000 name petition.  It was assumed with this amount of public feeling against the proposal it would die a death. We were wrong! Middlesbrough Council, seduced by a considerable amount of revenue from the Government in the New Homes Bonus scheme and large lumps of cash to be extracted from the developer as part of his planning obligations to the communities impacted by the proposal. 

You would think these monies would be an automatic benefit to Nunthorpe and Marton West as being the most impacted communities. WRONG! As usual, Middlesbrough Council assumes they have the right to use this developer money as they wish and certainly Nunthorpe doesn't appear very high on their priority list.

The summer and autumn of 2011 dragged on without much activity from either the developer or the Council (at least thats what they told us! ). With very little warning the Council decided to hold a Planning Meeting in December 2011 to not only discuss Grey Towers Farm but to discuss Stainsby Hall Farm (375 houses), Rose Cottage Farm (106 houses),  Ladgate Lane  police HQ (350 houses) and Hemlington Grange (nearly 1,000 houses). At this ridiculous farce of a meeting the majority of Councillors on the Planning Committee produced a slam-dunk non-decision of  "minded to approve" on all applications.  

This strange  and farcical meeting was necessary, so the Council said,  to avoid the developers claiming a non-determination of their applications. They were, in fact, denied the ability to provide a proper decision - "approved" or "refused" - by the Highways Agency which is justifiably worried about the impact of all these proposals on their strategic roads - the A174, A19 and A66. The Council is not allowed to make a planning decision  until the Highways Agency give them permission. The Highways Agency has again extended their direction to the Council until 23 September 2012 or earlier if they come to an agreement with all the developers presently attempting to build new housing estates across Middlesbrough

This is where we stand today at end April 2012 and we are still not a happy bunch of bunnies in Nunthorpe!