I have just returned from a very good meeting organised and run by the Parish Council to update residents on the New Ridley plans. The Parish Council will be submitting a very strong statement of objection to the plans, listing several major planning criteria that the application clearly fails to meet.
If you haven't already done so, please write a letter of objection (see here for relevant dates, address, and sample text).
Even if you don't live in New Ridley itself and think that it won't affect you in Stocksfield, Mickley, or Riding Mill, consider this: the New Ridley application proposes to develop green belt land. If this application gets approval then it is likely that further applications will follow. The first would probably be to extend the New Ridley development to the original planned 55 dwellings.
But if that doesn't seem bad enough, the second consequence could be proposals to build on the fields opposite Broomley First School. Those fields are extensive and could potentially accommodate hundreds of houses. It causes me great concern to think of the impact that would have, not only on Stocksfield immediately, but also on the surrounding villages of Mickley and Riding Mill in terms of the increased traffic volumes on the A695. This road, which runs through the heart of all three settlements is already very busy, and large scale development would only make the situation worse.
I hope the planners will reject this application on the grounds that it demonstrably fails to conform to existing major planning policies. The more objections that individual residents can send, the stronger the message the planning officers will have. Stop this development a) because it is simply a bad opportunistic proposal and b) to stop even worse developments down the line. Please, get writing and get your objection lodged.