Anger as council agrees to sell off open land for housing

Open land behind Brookland Terrace bordering with New York Road and Westminister Avenue.'Picture bu Jane Coltman
Open land behind Brookland Terrace bordering with New York Road and Westminister Avenue.'Picture bu Jane Coltman

Angry residents have hit out at council officials for pushing ahead with plans to sell off open land on their estates.

Cabinet members at North Tyneside Council agreed to authorise the disposal of land at Brookland Terrace in New York, North Shields, and at Zetland Drive in Whitley Bay.

Both sites have been earmarked for potential housing developments, creating 17 new houses in total.

However, residents were shocked at the speed at which cabinet members agreed the decision and without any further debate following their objections.

Around a dozen attended the cabinet meeting but stormed out after the decision was agreed in less than five minutes and they were not allowed to speak.

One resident shouted at the Mayor as they left: “Where is the democracy in the council if you can’t have a discussion? It’s a disgrace.

“What was the point in coming?”

Another shouted: “Councillors aren’t worth their money.”

Coun John Harrison, cabinet member for housing, said both sites had been identified for affordable housing schemes.

“We have to determine whether or not to set aside the objections from residents,” he told the meeting.

“Both areas of land have been declared surplus to requirement by the council.

“I have considered the objections, along with officers, and I would recommend we agree to the disposal of both sites.”

A report to cabinet said planning permission had been submitted for both sites but not yet granted.

The plans at Brookland Terrace are for five two-bedroom houses and eight two-bedroom flats with associated park while the proposals for Zetland Drive were for four two-bedroom bungalows.

The council recieved five letters of objection and a petition signed by 150 people against the proposals for Brookland Terrace.

Objectors said the land was green space in the council’s Local Plan rather than land to developed, the plot was too small for the housing being proposed, the village was already over-populated, drainage could not cope with the loss of open space and additional housing, and there was already too much traffic.

Concerns were also raised about the loss of privacy, poor amenities and bus services in the village, loss of trees and impact on local wildlife.

Residents in Zetland Drive said the development would result in the loss of the open aspect and impact their ‘peace and quiet’.