Campaigners waiting for plan decision

Campaigners against plans to build thousands of homes on green fields are hoping the New Year brings them joy.

Thursday, 5th January 2017, 2:00 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:02 pm
The area off Rake Lane that has been earmarked by North Tyneside Council for future development. GM022216

North Tyneside Council is looking to protect open land and guide future developments in the borough through a Local Plan.

An eight-week public inquiry into the Plan was concluded before Christmas, with the Inspector now considering the evidence before making any recommendations to potential changes.

But the plan has sparked anger among some residents with large sections of open land near Murton and Killingworth identified for thousands of homes.

Murton Action Group was among those who submitted evidence on the potential impact of the development.

Group chairman Ed Williams said: “It’s the countryside nature of the area that local residents value. The developers’ promise of some parkland within the housing development will not compensate for the loss of fields.”

He also expressed concerns about the amount of traffic which the development would generate, the loss of habitat for the wildlife, the loss of the historic associations of the moor, and the loss of open space.

Mr Williams said: “There are so many uncertainties about the proposals for the Murton site that this part of the Local Plan should be put on hold for five years and then re-considered.”

He said a review of the Green Belt should be done because there has never been a public consultation about what green space residents value and where in the borough it should be.

A council spokesperson said: “We are required by Government to produce a Local Plan that prepares for growth – the Government has made it very clear that if a local authority does not produce a Local Plan it will intervene and produce one on its behalf.

“These plans must include identifying possible sites, both public and private, to meet growing demands for housing, the economy, community facilities and infrastructure.

“We are pleased that many people have had the opportunity to be involved in the examination of our Plan and it was interesting to hear the broad range of views with regard the number of new houses required for the borough and the use of employment land, among various other issues, throughout the process.

“It was good to hear the Inspector publicly recognise the professionalism of the team at the conclusion of the hearings.

“The Inspector is now considering the evidence presented to him and we will work with him to draft any changes needed to make the Plan sound.

“These changes will be subject to consultation and we will be issuing further information about this in the coming weeks.”