Labour’s Green Belt Grab: Down in scale but still a threat

April 1, 2012 6:12 PM

The Labour Council's hamfisted proposals for housing development in the city - approved for consultation in secret - have been the subject of huge opposition by residents with thousands of letters and signatures on petitions, forcing the council to scale back plans for building on the Green Belt.

They have mysteriously discovered scope for extra homes in "brownfield" site areas but they still propose to build over 5500 homes in the Green Belt over the next 20 years. Labour has been forced to reduce the scale of the huge proposed Callerton Park "Strategic Growth Area" from 4000 homes to 2500-3000 homes by 2030. This was after after thousands complained about adverse impact on wildlife; loss of recreation amenity; impact on the existing road network and increased congestion, whilst putting existing services, infrastructure and facilities under pressure; increased pollution; the detrimental impact on village/local character and identity. They are also now proposing to reduce development east of Walbottle School Campus to around 700 homes "to be delivered in the long term". Other elements are some sites discounted in Gosforth and Lemington, but others retained in Throckley (north and south) and additional capacity proposed in Newbiggin Hall.

Between now and June the council is doing more work on the suitability of the sites that are still in the plans, with criteria and scoring to justify their decisions. Then from June the Council will go through further public consultation on the final proposals.

"Lib Dem councillors at the civic centre have forced the council to agree that its next consultation plan will have to be discussed and approved in public by the council's cabinet, unlike the last one" says Councillor Sarah Cross. "We will continue fighting for the absolute priority to be on brownfield development before anything else" says Kevin Brown.