Councillors call for delay on strategy for planning

A PLANNING strategy including provision for more than 400 new homes near Holystone could be withdrawn and new measures put in place to protect North Tyneside’s remaining green spaces.

Residents have objected to proposals for the development of green-belt land between the village and the nearby Rising Sun Country Park at Benton, saying it would damage the environment.

A petition signed by more than 2,000 people against the plans was handed into North Tyneside Council, and at a full council meeting last week, opposition councillors called for the plans to be put on hold.

The proposals are part of a core strategy being drawn up by the local authority, but Labour councillors asked for that blueprint to be withdrawn for the time being.

Instead, they want to draw up a local plan based on neighbourhood projections which could protect areas of green belt.

However, Conservative councillors said that proposal would be dictated by protesters and could have a damaging impact on the borough.

Moving the recommendations calling for the strategy to be withdrawn, Labour group leader Coun Jim Allan, of Camperdown, said the council should wait to see what impact the national planning policy framework and localism bill have before drawing up a core strategy.

He also said it was vital to work with neighbouring authorities as they drew up their strategies as hundreds of homes are being earmarked by Newcastle City Council for land next to Wideopen.

Coun Allan said: “The national planning policy framework will change things. It gives new rights to local residents and neighbourhoods to define their own plan.

“The core strategy comes at a bad time for North Tyneside. We need to take a breath here and see what the impact of the localism bill is.”

Coun Eddie Darke, of Longbenton, added: “Other councils are delaying their core strategy following the central government decision, and we feel this council should do the same thing and start discussions with local neighbourhoods.”

Coun David Corkey, of Chirton in North Shields, said: “I believe the driver of the planning policy should be the interests of local residents.”

But Conservative group leader Coun Michael McIntyre, of Whitley Bay, hit out, saying delaying the core strategy too long would see any decision taken out of the council’s hands by central government.

He said: “I do believe in the planning policy, and just to curry flavour with a small group of protesters, we have been led into a dangerous cul-de-sac.

“The objectors seek to develop other parts of land in the borough, anywhere but outside their front door.

“The core strategy consultation has been extended greatly to allow for further consultation.”

Mayor Linda Arkley said the core strategy would have to be drawn up but would come back to full council for discussion and any alterations.

She told protesters in the public gallery: “We have had the most extensive consultation ever. We have listened to all your comments.”

Councillors voted in favour of asking cabinet members to withdraw the core strategy until the two national strategies were in place and for discussions to take place on protecting the borough’s green belt.