Springwell Village has been around since the 1820s. It lies between Gateshead and Washington, and for planning purposes falls just inside the Sunderland Local Authority area. It has no Post Office but does have excellent bus services. If you stand by the old Coop building in the daytime there is typically one every 7 minutes to somewhere and likewise on the opposite side. And at the moment if you pass through the place on a bus as I often do it is asking you to PAY ATTENTION TO US.
As you can see the Springwell Village Residents Association wants to ‘Save the Green Belt’. Even the Wesleyan chapel which has probably saved a few souls in its time is agreed that the green belt needs salvation.
I have to admit that in the summer a lot of green belt is nice to look at. Here’s an example looking towards Nissan and their wind turbines
The woodland in the middle distance are actually Heworth and George Washington golf courses. These views and the public paths you can see them from are not under threat.
So where are the parcels of land that could be developed and what are they like?
The Springwell Village Residents Assocation has this helpful map
Plot 263 is former industrial land and housing has recently been built on it. Plots 407 and 408 are the interesting ones and have been bought by Washington property developer Hellens. Plot 407 looks like this
which has mainly wild grasses. Part of the Bowes railway line runs down the right hand side of this plot. The bigger Plot 408 looks like this
which is currently leased for grazing of horses. There are lots of buttercups and a view towards Penshaw Monument which realistically you’d need binoculars to see.
If your house backs on to one of these plots, or if you use the public footpath that divides the two pieces of land
then even when building is finished your view will be massively affected for better or worse depending if you prefer wild grasses, horses and buttercups to houses, lawns and cars.
As far as known the land currently gets no agricultural subsidies. HMRC tells us that land used for grazing leisure horses doesn’t qualify. It’s not known yet if there will be any subsidies for the developer as plans haven’t been submitted. Currently social house builders can claim a subsidy but Hellens is a commercial organisation. It’s not known either what the full terms of the sale by the previous landowner to Hellens were – the Land Registry records a sale value of £293,000 for just over 30 acres. There may be an option to buy back if planning permission fails, and there may or may not be further payments if planning permission is granted. It’s thought that water and sewerage are already in place here. It’s thought up to 300 dwellings could be accommodated which would be a bit of a squash. It’s also thought there will be plans by the developer to replace the primary school building in the village but until plans are published this isn’t clear.
Next time – more thoughts generally about development.