New homes are coming to Benton as plans approved amid road safety fears


Controversial plans to build new homes in Benton have been given the green-light by the council despite road safety fears.

The Northumberland Estate is behind the scheme to build the homes at Scaffold Hill Farm on Whitley Road.

North Tyneside Council’s planning committee previously defied its own officers who recommended approval for the project, citing road safety, over development and biodiversity as reasons to throw it out.

The developer came back to the council with proposals to build 35 homes on the site – three less than originally applied for.

A planning statement submitted to by agent Pegasus Group maintains the initial application was acceptable but outlines steps taken to address the fears raised by the planning committee in December.

To allay these concerns, the number of houses proposed has been revised down from 38 to 35, and more information has been submitted regarding pedestrian crossings, road safety and landscaping.

But one resident is still concerned about road safety and is calling for a safe crossing to be installed near-by.

Keith Page, of Holystone Action Group, attended Tuesday planning committee meeting to speak out about road safety fears.

Mr Page wants to see a controlled crossing installed at the crossing Holystone bypass at the point between Wheat Sheaf and West Allotment.

He said: »What has not changed since December is the degree of danger at the crossing on Holystone bypass.

« People on that crossing have five seconds to cross the road but at the controlled crossing near the Wheat Sheaf they have 12 seconds.

« The unprotected central reservation is six foot and half an inch across, not wide enough for a mother using a modern buggy and barely wide enough for a family and a dog.

« What I would like to see is a controlled or zebra crossing installed, to support us as residents and help us keep safe. »

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Planning agent Sandra Manson said that a controlled crossing wasn’t needed and said that authority highways officers agreed with this.

She said: « The provision of a crossing point is not supported by highways officers, the application scheme does not generate the pedestrian or vehicular movements that could justify such a request. »

When pressed on whether she would use the crossing she admitted she wouldn’t.

She said: « If I was living there and needed to cross the road I would go to one of the other crossing points provided. »

A highways officer for the authority said that site had been previously looked at and a controlled crossing wasn’t deemed necessary. The planning committee to green-light the application after hearing the authority’s planning officers recommended approval.





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