Housing tipped to get go-ahead for take off at Amy Johnson site

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ONE of the largest housebuilding schemes in west Hull for years looks set to get the go-ahead, despite objections from a handful of residents and a sports watchdog.

Developer Keepmoat is applying to build nearly 500 homes on the former Amy Johnson school site.

The £60m scheme is among those supported by an £8m grant from the regional growth fund and is seen as a key part of plans to transform the Newington and St Andrew’s wards in the city.

The first phase of the scheme, a total of 148 homes, is half-way built.

Hull city councillors are due to discuss the second phase next Tuesday – 491 homes, built to the latest eco-friendly standards and nearly five acres of new urban green space, including a new public square, a park and allotments.

Three residents on Plowden Road have objected to an extra 40 homes being added to the original plans, bringing the final figure to 491.

Sport England has also objected, saying the area wasn’t assessed at the time an area action plan, which sets the guidelines for future developments, was being drawn up. They say the plans make “small concessions” in terms of allotments and open spaces, but nothing in the way of formal sport.

Planners have hit back saying that the watchdog didn’t raise concerns when the plans were being drawn up.

They say the area action plan had since been adopted and was considered “robust.” Officials recommend conditional approval, subject to a legal agreement.

Keepmoat, the council’s development partner, is currently building the third phase of Woodcock Street, and has an application in for more housing on Hawthorn Avenue East, as well as the Amy Johnson site.

It will be submitting plans for the Riley College site later this year.

David Carmichael, Keepmoat’s partnerships and land director, said the firm planned to build 100 houses a year on the different sites over the next 12 years, and the work would safeguard and create 600 jobs, including 95 apprenticeships. To date three-quarters of those employed had a Hull postcode, he said.

Mr Carmichael said there was no formal sports pitches within the new development – but there were children’s play areas as well as space for people to have a picnic and kick a ball around.

He said: “Within the Amy Johnson scheme there are huge areas of public open space, both formal and informal, and we have taken a huge amount of time and effort to try and ensure the space is being provided for local people and is of the highest quality.

“Sport England have made some comments about the area action plan, which was adopted back in 2010, so a lot of that is very much water under the bridge, but certainly in terms of provision of open space for local people, I do think it is very much the right sort of space.”

Cabinet member for housing Councillor John Black said: “I am pleased that the proposals are overwhelmingly supported by the local community, that has been self apparent at all the meetings I have been to.”

Public art is being integrated into the design of the homes and open spaces.

Artist Chris Tipping taking his inspiration from the story of the city-born aviator Amy Johnson – who went to school in the area – and her 10,000 mile flight from Hull to Darwin.

Mr Tipping will seek to tell the story of Johnson’s pioneering flight as part of the project, and trees planted throughout the area will reflect the 16 countries she visited.

The Ramsgate-based artist, who has been working with the developers since 2008, said Amy Johnson’s story would be reflected in everything from the planting, to the design of a seat in the park, which will look like a Gypsy Moth from above, and the setting out of pathways.

“It is there to evoke the idea of a singular person from Hull doing something extraordinary,” he said.