Major development plans which would deliver a £650m boost to the Sedgefield economy are subject to a make-or-break decision next week.
Investment group ESRG’s Advantage Sedgefield plan aims to build 450 new homes across two locations; on land adjacent to Beacon Lane and a site off Salters Lane.
The scheme also features new care facilities, a health centre, sports facilities – including an ice rink -and a business training hub to link education providers with employers.
The Beacon Lane site will see the development of 218 executive, family and affordable homes and a 60-bed extra care living facility. At Salters Lane, Advantage Sedgefield plans to build 232 new homes, an extra care facility, a new health centre with GP and dental care capacity and a number of retail units.
There are also plans to create a business training hub, partnering with local education providers to offer a link between education and employment via apprenticeships and other training courses.
The scheme is a community-focused project which would bring £650m of investment into the Sedgefield economy. An alternative housing-only project for the area called Eden Drive has also been submitted by a different business, which many worry will destroy the rural setting of the town, unlike Advantage Sedgefield.
However, only the Eden Drive project has been moved forward by the council to the committee consideration stage and will be discussed at a planning meeting on Tuesday (21 July) at Durham County Hall.
ESRG has warned that, should the Eden Drive project be given the green light, Sedgefield will miss out on the considerable economic, community, lifestyle and care-related benefits that Advantage Sedgefield promises.
ESRG chief executive David Evans said: “Should planners approve Eden Drive, the defined housing capacity will be fully utilised, and there will be no opportunity to consider Advantage Sedgefield in the future.
“Advantage Sedgefield, however, will bring a £650m economic value to the area and unique and first class community facilities. New infrastructure, education, training, sport and leisure, residential, healthcare and commercial facilities will also be provided.
“Whilst Eden Drive proposes housing, Advantage Sedgefield will exceed this with a community centre, an enterprise hub, care homes for the elderly set in a retirement village for assisted living and an indoor activity and sports centre including an ice rink and climbing wall.
“We are determined to secure a fair consideration for all development proposals so that the needs of the community are best served, both in the immediate future and in the longer term.”
Plans for Advantage Sedgefield were submitted last year and have since been well received by local residents and stakeholders at several consultation events.
To find out more about the project visit www.advantagesedgefield.co.uk.