Core strategy plans were inappropriate in timescale

WITH the planning enquiry regarding greenfield land at West Moor in full swing, we are delighted that Mayor Linda Arkley and her cabinet have agreed that the core strategy plans were inappropriate in time scale for brownfield sites and that there is significant potential to develop those sites (cabinet minutes October 8).

When the mayor’s core strategy plans were published in May 2010, the West Chirton industrial estate site was identified for long-term mixed-use development, but with no housing planned until 2016 (50 homes) with the majority (370 homes) not to start until 2020.

The mayor, and her cabinet, has clearly now agreed with us that this should be brought forward and has even stated that she is delighted that they have brought this forward.

We have campaigned tirelessly to have brownfield sites such as West Chirton brought forward, ahead of the greenfield sites which the plan also identifies (unnecessarily, both in our opinion and also in the opinion of many others – including councillors – in the borough).

News of other brownfield sites being put forward for housing and having planning permission granted have to be welcomed and show, once again, that there is no need to develop large greenfield sites in North Tyneside.

Is it not greed of some landowners and developers which is restricting the available ‘five-year land-supply’ as they can clearly make more money from developing greenfield sites?

This is shown by the fact that there is planning permission for over 3,000 homes already granted, and which landowners and developers are just ‘sitting on’, presumably waiting for a better economic climate.

The mayor has repeatedly claimed that greenfield sites would have to be developed to meet the magical ‘five-year-supply’ but, with brownfield sites such as West Chirton, Norgas House in Killingworth and Lime Gardens in Palmersville now emerging, as well as the large site at Smiths Dock, it shows how inaccurate those claims are. Particularly when you consider the number of planning permissions already granted.

Development of greenfield sites will always be an emotive issue, but we have to ask the following question: can it be right that landowners of prime greenfield sites also give donations to political parties where councillors of those parties are involved in determining planning applications for those prime sites?

Notwithstanding the inaccuracies of the argument about the need to develop greenfield sites in North Tyneside, we do welcome the mayor’s decision to bring forward the West Chirton site, whilst lamenting her and her cabinet’s over-willingness to support unnecessary greenfield site development.

We absolutely support growth and development in North Tyneside, but the mayor’s plans are wrong as it has been shown that there is no need to build on large greenfield sites.