Opposition grows to housing plan24th September, 2012 by Colin Victor
Attempts to convert a major Durham golf club into a housing development have caused so much opposition that a local MP has arranged a public meeting about it for this week.
Roberta Blackman-Woods, the Labour MP for the City of Durham, says she has been contacted by a “number of residents” about the 93 acre Mount Oswald Manor and Golf Course, an historic venue owned by North East Estates, which has been the subject of several bids to build on it in recent years.
Plans by Banks Developers to turn the club into a £150m business park in 2008 and into a £75m ‘millionaires’ row’ and business site in 2009 were thwarted by the local council.
However, the company has now applied for planning permission to convert the course, clubhouse and car park into 16 homes for millionaires, up to 56 executive homes, up to 250 family homes and accommodation for up to 1,000 Durham University students, plus other apartments.
Blackman-Woods held a public meeting about the plan last year, in which she said the “overwhelming majority of residents opposed Banks’ proposed development of the Mount Oswald site.” She is holding another meeting this Thursday, September 27 “to get residents’ views” and while she has been careful to appear independent on the issue, she has also promoted the ‘Save Mount Oswald Golf Course’ action group, which has been set up.
Some councillors also oppose the development due to the loss of green space and the likelihood of increased traffic.
Durham county councillor Nigel Martin, for example, said: “Local people don’t want this development, they have made their feelings clear, they want the Mount Oswald golf club to remain.”
Banks Developers said the project would support 220 jobs, create 16.3 acres of public open space and help free up city centre homes for families.