Two new Metro stations could be built as part of plans to build thousands of new homes in North Tyneside.
The two potential sites have been earmarked as part of the draft Local Plan drawn up by North Tyneside Council which includes plans to build 5,000 new homes.
We are preparing a feasibility study to show how viable a Metro station would beNeil Cole, planning policy manager
At a full council meeting, members voted in favour of sending the Pre-Submission Draft Local Plan out to public engagement.
A six-week consultation is due to start on November 2, giving residents a chance to have their say on the proposals before the Local Plan goes to a public inquiry.
Included in the plans are 3,000 homes on 240 hectares of open land near Murton village, stretching from North Tyneside General Hospital across to Shiremoor, plus a further 2,000 homes on 192 hectares between Killingworth and Backworth.
As a result, potential new Metro stations could be built on the line between Shiremoor and West Monkseaton stations, likely to be near the Wellfield estate, and between Palmersville and Northumberland Park stations near Holystone.
New link roads, schools and community facilities were also proposed.
Neil Cole, planning policy manager at the council, told the meeting that initial talks had begun with Nexus with the aim to draw up potential business cases for either site.
He added: “We are preparing a feasibility study to show how viable a Metro station would be.”
Councillors were told a Local Plan – which would outline growth and development over the next 15 years – was needed to give the authority a stronger say on planning applications, with five rejections being lost on appeal recently leading to 1,746 new homes being built across five sites.
Coun John Harrison, cabinet member for housing and transport, said: “For North Tyneside it is vital that we get the Plan in place as soon as possible. Without the Plan, we continue to be at risk of not being able to make robust planning decisions locally.
“With the Plan, we will be in a much stronger position to prevent development we don’t believe is right for the area, and we can get the best from growth to provide jobs and homes for our residents.
“With it, we can plan for the right infrastructure such as new roads, health, schools and open spaces.
“Ultimately our end goal is for us is to help to deliver our Council priorities to make North Tyneside a better place for our residents.”
Initial feedback from residents has been taken on board, resulting in 110 potential sites included in the proposals two years ago, reduced to 80 while the proposed number of houses for Murton has reduced from 5,500 to 3,000, and Killingworth Moor is down from 3,500 to 2,000.
Coun Harrison added: “If we set our housing requirements too low it’s more that likely that an inspector will tell us to start again; and secondly, we will end up planning for decline.”
Residents were encouraged to take part in the upcoming consultation as any previous comments would not be submitted to the Inspector.
But Conservative members hit out at the proposed Local Plan, saying too many houses were being proposed, which would impact on roads and add to flooding pressures.
Coun Alison Austin, who represents Monkseaton North, said: “We have raised residents’ concerns about the potential for flooding, the extra strain on school places and the prospect of even worse traffic congestion.
“We need a Local Plan but it must be the right Local Plan and not the Labour party’s deeply flawed effort.
“This is our last chance to get this right and we should be working with reliable and accurate evidence, not guesswork.”