Whinfield Residents Association

(Incorporating the Friends of Beech Wood)

Considerations for Objections to Land North of Sparrow Hall Drive Development

Some of the most common objections which are not material considerations but are often used against proposed planning applications are:
  • Loss of property value
  • Loss of view
  • Impact of construction work
  • Private rights of way
  • Fears of damage to property
  • Boundary disputes, covenants or other property rights
However, material considerations than can be used are (but are not limited to):
  • Loss of daylight/sunlight or overshadowing
  • Loss of privacy
  • Traffic & parking
  • Impact on trees & wildlife
  • Layout and density of buildings
  • Drainage and flood risk
  • Noise, dust, fumes etc
  • Impact on character or appearance of area
  • Impact on public rights of way
  • Impact on the community and other services
  • Government policy
  • Economic impact and sustainability
  • Scale and dominance
  • Disabled persons’ access
  • Proposals in the local development plan
Some specific considerations for objections to the land north of Sparrow Hall Drive development:

Loss of Open Space

It will result in the loss of wildlife friendly green space and an informal recreational open space.
It has not been demonstrated in the planning application that this loss will be replaced by an equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity & quality. This is contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework.
Brownfield sites are available in the borough and these should be given consideration prior to the development of public open green space.
It will result in Urban sprawl and does not reflect the character or needs of the area.

Social & Economic

Local schools and the health provision are already stretched with capacity issues. This development will place additional strain on those services with no clear guidance from Bellway in their planning application of how they will deal with these issues.
This development will potentially increase primary school numbers by 27-30 children creating additional burden on local primary schools.
There is also a significant lack of nursery provision in the Whinfield area and this development will create an additional extra burden on those facilities.
The potential additional burden on schools and health provision is contrary to the National Planning Policy objective of “supporting communities health, social & cultural wellbeing and should therefore be rejected.
The Darlington Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2015) states that there is a substantial need for affordable housing and for older people housing. The majority of this development is now for 3 bedroomed houses which does not support the housing need for Darlington.

Public Right of Way

The existing public right of way is proposed to be re-aligned through the housing development. This is apparently due to safety concerns about the new houses having a public right of way alongside their back gardens. This public right of way has been in existence for many years and already runs behind existing properties. There is no need to change this right of way as it can exist alongside this development.


Given the distance from employment, the town centre and the nearest bus stops this development is highly likely to increase traffic and increase strain on the already near capacity A1150 at Whinfield Road. It will undoubtedly increase traffic congestion and pollution in the area.
The development is contrary to policy IN2 of the Draft Local Plan as more than 80% of the site is greater than 400m walking distance of a bus stop. The plans submitted state that access to the site is within 400m but this is just at the access point and not the development itself.
The National Planning Policy Framework states that development should seek to address the needs of people with disabilities & reduced mobility in relation to all modes of transport.
This is clearly not achieved if the nearest bus stop is in excess of 400m away and the nearest local facilities are over 600m away.
Resident and non-resident parking on Sparrow Hall Drive currently already severely reduces traffic flow and additional journeys at key parts of the day will impact on this severity resulting in traffic safety issues, especially now given the growth of this development.
The suggested additional journey data included in the application seems rather low considering that it is reasonable to assume that most of the dwellings will be occupied by families, many of whom will potentially have at least 2 cars.
The Transport Assessment or the Addendum report is not easy to comprehend and needs to be written in such a way which is open to scrutiny and examination by the general public which we feel it is currently not.
The suggestion that the junction of Whinbush Way/Whinfield Road will operate satisfactorily during peak periods is flawed. As it currently stands this junction does not operate properly during peak periods and an additional traffic from this development would exacerbate this problem further. The council have already highlighted the need for the Darlington Northern Link Road because of traffic issues along A1150/Whinfield Road.
The original study and the addendum study conducted by Bellway only looks at the impact of this development, however, there are also further developments within the ward, namely the impact of the Skerningham Garden Village and developments across the Borough which will also impact heavily on the A1150, Whinbush Way and Barmpton Lane. These will undoubtedly result in unacceptable levels of traffic congestion and traffic pollution in the Whinfield Ward. These should also absolutely be considered alongside this application as they cannot be separated.

General Comments

This site was included in the Draft Local Plan (albeit under the heading of Elm Tree) which was consulted upon earlier in the year. The whole point of the consultation was to ask the people of Darlington what they thought about the plan and where they wanted to see development and where they did not. The results of this consultation are yet to be published so, as this development was part of that consultation, it should be rejected until the outcome of that consultation and the Local Plan is approved. If not, then it would make a mockery of the whole consultation and Draft Plan process.