Campaigners against proposals to build thousands of new homes on open fields are preparing for their final battle.
Objections have been raised over North Tyneside Council’s proposed Local Plan, which sets out how the borough will grow and develop until 2032.
And now a Government Planning Inspector will be holding a public inspection to hear the views on the plan. The examination is due to start next Tuesday and last five weeks.
Concerns have been raised over the number of new houses proposed, including more than 3,000 around the village of Murton, near Shiremoor, and Monkseaton.
Objectors say it would add to already significant traffic issues and increase flood risks.
Conservative group leader Coun Judith Wallace said: “The Local Plan will guide development for the next 15 years and will be the starting point for all future planning applications.
“It is therefore essential that we have the right Plan, but our research shows that the number of new houses proposed by the council is excessive.
“We know that we need new developments but we believe that the council has over estimated what’s needed.
“The Government’s most recent figures show that around 14,300 extra homes will be required in North Tyneside, yet the council is proposing over 17,380.
“The whole area from Earsdon and Murton right across to Rake Lane will be available for building if this Plan goes ahead.
“We cannot understand why such extra construction is planned, when many residents have objected as they are very worried about the loss of green spaces and the effect on traffic and schools.”
Monkseaton north councillor Les Miller added: “By proposing this much higher figure, effectively over 3,000 more properties than are necessary, the Council is making more of our green fields available for building than need be the case.
“Local people are already concerned about the impact this will have on our health services, education and road congestion.
“Flooding is also a major issue – some of these fields are often under water already in bad weather.”
A council spokesperson said: “We are required by Government to produce a Local Plan that prepares for growth.
“We are not proposing to build thousands of new homes – the plan means we will be prepared to manage inevitable planning applications from developers taking into account local circumstances and priorities, not just national guidance.
“Without a Local Plan we are less likely to be able to successfully reject planning applications that we believe are wrong for the borough.
“The plan we have submitted was prepared and reviewed regularly over a number of years and was correctly based on the most up-to-date information available.
“The final plan, including the level of housing growth provision, is subject to inspection and will be considered by the Government’s Planning Inspector.
“The inspection starts on November 8 and will last around five weeks.
“Given the publication of new population and household projections in summer 2016, we have already carried out detailed assessment of the new data and provided information to the Inspector.
“We welcome the opportunity for our proposed housing target to be fully examined in the light of the new information, as well as representations submitted by local residents and the development industry, and will give full consideration to any recommendations the Inspector may make on this matter.”