North East Connected

Plans for 2,000 home garden village lodged

Plans for a 2,000-home garden village which will bring a huge economic boost to the region have today been submitted to Northumberland County Council.

The outline planning application by Lugano Property Group for Dissington Garden Village near Ponteland proposes a new mixed use community with a wide range of housing supported by education, leisure, medical, retail and employment facilities.

The proposals will bring 600 much needed affordable homes as well as properties suitable for downsizers within a mix including starter homes and supported housing for the elderly as well as large executive dwellings and custom build properties.

There will be 130 hectares of public open space and landscaping, with sports pitches, parkland, allotments and walking and cycle routes. The new community will also have a primary school, medical centre, cafés, restaurants and shops and a modern transport service. Local amenities will be managed by a community trust led by residents.

The development, centred around Limestone Lane, will also bring a long awaited relief road, bypassing the centre of Ponteland, and 8,000 sq m of flexible employment floor space.

Further offsite contributions will include funds towards secondary education and a flood alleviation scheme to protect Ponteland town centre. In all, the project will deliver a package of improvements worth over £90m to the area.

Dissington Garden Village will bring a huge boost to the local economy, generating more than 800 construction jobs during the building works and around 2,000 jobs from employment activities on site. Its residents will spend in the region of £40m per year in the local economy, helping to support local services and facilities.

Lugano Property Group has brought together a project team with an international reputation, at the leading edge of garden village design, to deliver the scheme.

It includes Lord Matthew Taylor, a government advisor on new garden communities, and David Birkbeck, CEO of Design for Homes. The masterplanning is being carried by international architects Farrells, and community engagement and detailed design is being led by the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community.

The determination to involve the local community in the shaping of the new village saw around 30 Ponteland residents and representatives of local organisations attend Enquiry by Design workshops in September where the location of the garden village within the 2,500-acre Dissington Estate was selected from four potential sites. Almost 100 people attended the feedback event that has influenced the current masterplan.

Ben Bolgar, Senior Design Director at the Prince’s Foundation, said working with local residents and organisations had been very informative: “We have been able to understand much, much better what makes the local community tick.

“People are rightfully cynical about new developments. They don’t believe things get delivered when they say they are going to and I think at least they understand that this model is a very different one and has the opportunity to deliver something quite special.”

The workshops were followed in November with information sessions held over five days at the Estate Office at Prestwick Park, where local residents were able to drop in to ask questions and leave feedback which has informed the outline planning application.

Internationally acclaimed architect and urban designer Sir Terry Farrell CBE has given his personal endorsement to the scheme.

Sir Terry, who grew up and studied in Newcastle, visited the Estate Office last week during his trip to the region when he was awarded the honorary Freedom of Newcastle and made a Visiting Professor at Newcastle University.

He said: “Dissington Garden Village is an exemplar for many other garden villages and communities which are planned throughout the country. It is important to turn the issue of growth into an opportunity for placemaking and we feel that this team has achieved that. It will enable huge improvements to the existing town as well as providing world class planning and design.”

Richard Robson, Chairman of Lugano Property Group, is hopeful the Dissington Garden Village proposal will gain Government support and planning approval and hopes work can start on site in 2018.

He said: “Dissington Garden Village is a unique opportunity for the region. We want to create an exceptional new community with a high quality design people will value.

“Our sole ownership of the estate, coupled with its highly desirable location, gives us the ability to do just that while providing infrastructure improvements, giving much more back to the local area than typical development projects.”

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