People count for more than profit

NEWS Guardian readers – particularly in Wallsend, Benton and Holystone – will wish to be aware that Persimmon Homes wrote to North Tyneside councillors last week about their plans to build 1,000 new houses on the greenfield site at the top of Station Road North.

I know from discussions on the doorsteps in Northumberland ward since summer last year that this proposal, which is backed by Mayor Linda Arkley, is of great concern to many existing residents.

In the letter, Persimmon claims a level of “open and transparent” consultation with local people to date.

This may come as something of a surprise to Northumberland ward residents.

I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve spoken to over the past nine months who think they have been ‘stonewalled’ by North Tyneside Council when attempting to get any real information from the authority on the impact this housing scheme will have on their area.

To be even-handed about it, however, the company does acknowledge there is a need for “more informed consultation and dialogue as the project moves forward”.

It remains to be seen whether Persimmon’s consultation planned for late June/July will allay the understandable and reasonable concerns people have about this controversial proposal and the effect it will have on the local environment, existing infrastructure and the daily lives of people who currently live in the area.

I have no doubt that the developer will need to present a very strong case to an extremely sceptical public.

People count for more than profit.

In this case, if Persimmon turn out to be yet another developer who tries to impose its will on local people if the kind words in their ‘consultation’ don’t wash with them, then they will certainly have a battle on their hands.

TONY STEPHENSON

Labour Team

Northumberland Ward