Underground homes to be built in Newcastle's Jesmond Dene despite objections

Newcastle city councillors have backed plans to demolish a stables near Paddy Freeman’s Park to build two family homes. Credit: PA

Two luxury homes are set to be built in Jesmond Dene, despite complaints from locals.

Newcastle city councillors have backed plans to demolish stables near Paddy Freeman’s Park to build two family homes.

Plans suggest these will predominantly be submerged below ground, with developers saying they have been “designed into the landscape to allow for further emphasis on the open space and uninterrupted views.”

It is hoped that being subterranean will reduce the properties' impact on the area's scenery.

Those who object to the plans say the project risks setting a “dangerous precedent” for development around what is a conservation area and could "change the character of Jesmond Dene”.

The properties have been designed to be underground to reduce the impact on the area. Credit: LDRS

Newcastle City Council’s planning committee gave the scheme the green light on Friday 19 January.

The houses will be set across two levels, with 80% of the buildings sunk into excavated land.

They are also due to have roof terraces and landscaped green features to help them blend into the environment.

A planning application lodged on behalf of applicant Mohammed Ajaib said that the intention was to “present it as a piece of the existing landscape” and avoid causing any damage to the area, behind the Castle Farm Mews development.

A dozen objections were made against the plans.

There were 12 objections to the plans. Credit: LDRS

One opponent argued the area should be left “for the benefit of the people of Newcastle” rather than for a private housing development.

While another said: “This development is out of character for this green space and nature corridor. The open space and semi-rural aspect of this whole field should be preserved for both wildlife and the enjoyment of visitors to Paddy Freeman's park and Jesmond Dene."

Despite the objections, council officers concluded that such arguments “cannot be justified” as there is no public right of way across the land.

Members of the planning committee were also told that the “minor impact” the scheme would have on the conservation area would be outweighed by its benefits.

Dene and South Gosforth councillor Henry Gallagher voiced concern about the proposed plans for his ward. He said: "I do have a problem with this plan – the proximity to Paddy Freeman’s and things like that give me deep concerns about this one. I won’t be able to support it.”

The committee voted by a margin of six to one in favour of the two properties being built.

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