An opinion survey by leading independent polling experts Ipsos MORI has revealed that more than twice as many Northumberland residents support a new Garden Village on the Dissington Estate West of Ponteland as oppose it. Across Northumberland, there is 34% support compared to 15% opposition (50% have no view either way). In the Castle Morpeth Area that includes the project, the majority of residents polled also either support the development (35%) or have no views either way (44%) – compared to 22% who oppose it.
Dissington Garden Village is to be delivered on land north of Newcastle. The new settlement will include an innovative project designed to stimulate and accelerate employment in high-tech industries. Dissington will create more and better jobs for the North East, including over 2000 jobs on site, as well as 3600 construction jobs, of which nearly 1000 will become full time. The new community will deliver its own retail spaces, sports, community and medical facilities, alongside a range of open market and affordable homes to meet the variety of local need.
The Garden Village is supported by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the North East Chamber of Commerce, as well as by national organisations the Homes and Communities Agency and The Prince’s Foundation. In March 2017, the proposals were approved by the Strategic Planning Committee of Northumberland County Council. The proposed new settlement will result in over £90million of private investment in County infrastructure, including a Ponteland Relief Road and Flood Alleviation scheme, both of which are featured in the emerging Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan.
The opinion research by Ipsos MORI has found:
· More support than opposition for Dissington Garden Village across Northumberland (net support of +19 percentage points;
· Geographic analysis also indicates more support than opposition in the Ashington and Blyth area (net support of +18 percentage points);
· Only 11% of Ashington and Blyth residents are opposed to Dissington Garden Village. The majority of residents in this area either support the development (29%) or have no views either way (58%).
· Across Northumberland, a preference for delivering a new settlement near Newcastle, rather than the piecemeal extension of existing villages and towns (36% vs. 23% respectively);
· Again these findings are echoed in Ashington and Blyth, where 39% of survey participants prefer a new settlement, compared to 22% who prefer extending existing towns and villages;
· Northumberland residents are more likely to support a development that:
· Ashington and Blyth residents are more likely to support a development that:
The research has been commissioned by Lugano Property Group, which is promoting the Dissington Garden Village proposals. Richard Robson, Chairman of Lugano Property Group, said:
“This ground-breaking research shows that the vision for Dissington Garden Village is very much in tune with public opinion in Ashington and Blyth. Residents clearly have a preference for well planned new settlements close to Newcastle that deliver significant investment in infrastructure and affordable housing.
“The Conservative Government budget has increased national housing targets once again, reflecting the broad consensus that more homes are desperately needed for younger generations. The March decision by the County Council to give Dissington the green light is therefore in tune with national policy as well as with local public opinion.”
Northumberland is facing considerable uncertainty following the withdrawal of its planning blueprint document, the Core Strategy, over the summer. A new Local Plan is now not scheduled to be in place for at least two years, opening up the prospect of a prolonged period of speculative applications to extend villages and market towns. As a result, earlier this month the Government threatened to intervene directly to establish a Northumberland plan. During the budget statement in Westminster last week, a series of measures were launched to drive up the delivery of new homes across the country, in a clear signal of Government policy on the matter.
Significantly, the March approval of Dissington Garden Village by the County Council was not premised upon the Core Strategy and therefore remains in place. The planning considerations that underpin County Council support for the project remain unchanged.