AN organisation made up of Ponteland residents has urged Northumberland County Council to re-think its plans to delete part of the green belt in the area.
The authority put forward proposals for housing and employment land as part of its core strategy consultation and the deadline for responses was last Thursday.
In Ponteland, it is aiming for a total of 850 new homes to be built over the next 20 years. A significant number of them would be provided in a new estate to the north of the village area (Northumbria Police headquarters site) and a mixed use development to the south, both including green belt land.
Hundreds of residents have joined or are supporting the Ponteland Greenbelt Group, which was set up in 2012 to oppose applications within the designated land such as Lugano Group’s outline proposal for up to 280 homes and other facilities on a site at Birney Hill.
In recent weeks, the group’s committee has been examining the core strategy document in great detail. Its members have a wealth of experience in a range of fields and they have been using their expertise to put the planners’ proposals under the microscope.
The 25-page response, delivered to County Hall on December 31, includes the following: “Ponteland is being singled out to carry a disproportionate, unrealistic heavy load to build houses.
“The justifiable requirements for housing and economic development can be accommodated entirely within existing available sites, previously developed land at the police headquarters and windfall applications.
“The whole of the existing green belt to the south of Ponteland is of critical importance to the prevention of urban sprawl. The green belt to the south of Ponteland and Darras Hall is more critical now than it was when it was created because of the continued expansion of urban Newcastle and Newcastle Airport.
“Increasing the number of units in Ponteland will not reduce the volume of commuting to and from Tyneside – it will only serve to increase it and is therefore in direct conflict with the core strategy policy to create a balanced and sustainable economy where homes and jobs are linked.
“The Ponteland Greenbelt Group is not against development in Ponteland per se, but the use of brownfield sites and greenfield land that is not green belt should be the primary focus for any development.
“The release of green belt land must be a case of last resort and must be based on clear evidenced-based housing need and not developer greed.”
Delivered at the same time were hundreds of responses from its volunteers and supporters. Others have been posted directly to County Hall or sent by email and it is expected that planners will have about 1,000 individual replies from concerned Ponteland residents to consider.
The committee would like to thank all those who have worked hard for the group and supported it financially.
The full response can be viewed at www.ponteland greenbelt.co.uk