DEVELOPMENT: A duty to protect land

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Charlton Court Field is a designated Green Open Space and protected against development and change of use.

Despite this, the council has voted to sell half of the available land. Its reason for not respecting its own protection or policies is as follows: Yes the land is protected, but we can sell it because we intend to remove the protection.

Only North Tyneside Council could come out with such nonsense. The land is protected, and it is the council’s responsibility to protect it. Full stop.

The field is the heart of our community. Our children play safely where we can see them, and we can monitor who is on it. These last few weeks around 30 children have been playing after school. We objected to this latest plan (the third) as the development would block our view across the field. We want to be able to see the children playing in the fresh air, not hidden behind buildings and bushes.

Also, blocking the field will change the whole feel of the area, and the loss of green space goes against local and national planning policy, which recognises that it is needed for healthy communities.

I think that North Tyneside Council has behaved badly throughout the process. The first that residents knew of any intention to sell the land was a notice given to a very small number of residents, stating that ‘work has begun on a new development’. This might have made us think that protest was futile.

However, we did protest – a 250-signature petition, 100 objection letters, a 890-signature petition, meetings, objections, pleas.

At one point, the council said it had removed the middle of the field from the development as it had listened to residents. However, it couldn’t be built on due to old mine workings.

For its latest travesty, the council has lost more than 70 objections which were submitted and states that it only received 21. Residents requested that it postpone the vote until it had found our objections, but it refused. This suggests that it had no intention of listening or being swayed by residents.

How can residents deal with councillors, a cabinet and mayor who ignore their own rules and policies? They promised to protect the remaining land for all time if we accepted the development, but the vote was taken with no such promise. I wonder how long that protection would have lasted?

Mrs J Hutt

Whitley Bay