A failure to provide homes would constrain our growth

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AS readers may be aware, I recently announced an additional public consultation around the Core Strategy – the council’s planning document which will guide the growth of the borough for the next 15 years.

The month-long consultation will begin on October 1 and will ask people to take time to consider the three options for growth being proposed as the foundation for the strategy.

The Core Strategy is a statutory document as set out in the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) Regulations 2004.

All Councils are required to produce a development plan and when adopted, the Core Strategy will form part of this plan for North Tyneside.

The Core Strategy is one of the strategies that takes forward principles agreed by elected members through other documents such as our Strategic Plan (2011-15) and the Sustainable Community Strategy agreed with our partners.

The development of the Core Strategy has been within the council processes since 2007.

The council is committed to encouraging growth, having a thriving economy and increasing the number of homes through previous responses to the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) and from its award of Housing Growth Point status in 2008.

The final version of the strategy will be decided by all council members and not just by myself and my cabinet.

Feedback from the Core Strategy Preferred Options consultation carried out over the summer of 2010 will help the council set out the scale of growth we believe is needed up until 2026-27.

That consultation ran for double the usual length of time as I wanted to make sure that we heard as many views as possible.

Our residents told us that they supported the overall strategy for development in the borough and are positive about our plans for employment.

There were concerns, however, about the level of house building that might be needed, mainly because of concerns about the impact of development of particular housing on green field sites.

Building homes is an essential part of supporting economic recovery and delivering growth.

Without growth in the homes available to people – including providing for shortages in both affordable and executive homes – we will not be able to meet and deliver the plans for growth in the economy and particularly jobs that residents have told us they want to see.

We will continue where we can, as we have done in earlier plans, to make the best use of previously developed or brown field land, especially within our towns where development of such sites can support regeneration initiatives.

However, there are limited opportunities to meet the future housing needs of residents on such land and so in addition a range of green field sites were identified in the Core Strategy Preferred Options document.

This was following a robust appraisal process which considered a range of potential options to deliver the growth we have been told that the residents and businesses of North Tyneside want.

I would like to emphasise that in North Tyneside, none of the sites identified for housing would entail any building on the Green Belt.

The Core Strategy itself will go through a process, which will allow for further consultation, before finally being subject to an examination in public by government inspectors.

They will analyse and question the evidence upon which the submission is made.

I am sure that you want North Tyneside to be a growing, thriving, vibrant and prosperous place for future generations to enjoy. I share that desire.

The opportunity for growth would be severely constrained if we cannot provide the homes we need for our young people and families, and to support the economic investment our borough needs. Our opportunities and those of our children and grandchildren would be limited.

Failure for us to take forward the Core Strategy and set a clear path could in effect, leave a vacuum which could render the North Tyneside community unable to set its own path for the future.

LINDA ARKLEY North Tyneside Mayor