Campaigners left to weigh up next move

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CAMPAIGNERS who opposed the housing development have spoken of their disappointment at its approval.

Residents living next to the site set up Wallsend Highfield Action Group last year to express their concerns about the housing development.

Over 159 letters of objection were sent to North Tyneside Council, and many houses near the site displayed ‘No way, Bellway’ posters in their windows.

Jacqui Rodgers, pictured, one of the leaders of the campaign group, said the result of the planning committee meeting held last week was very disappointing.

She raised concerns that money was being put before policy, given how much cash is to be invested in the area as a condition of the development.

Dr Rogers said: “No amount of money can compensate for this.

“Yet again Wallsend has been given the short straw.

“It was just extremely disappointing.

“There were a lot of local residents there, and we were very disappointed and unhappy with the outcome.”

The final decision came after a two-hour debate after which the matter was decided by just one vote.

Wallsend Highfield Action group was so opposed to the proposals that it created its own report, concluding: “The proposed development is unarguably contrary to local policy both in terms of the unitary development framework and the emerging local development framework.

“There are no factors which mitigate against deviation from either the extant planning policy or future policy.”

The group also cited the finding of a planning inspector who refused permission for a similar development 14 years ago, saying: “Once the site is developed, it will be lost to the community for ever, no matter what the future demand for its use.”

The group now intends to meet to discuss the outcome and decide what its options are.