Developers get a clear message

PONTELAND residents have sent a resounding message to property developers.

More than 400 people turned up for a meeting at the Memorial Hall to discuss the future of the area with planners from Northumberland County Council.

It ended with a detailed workshop session to capture all the views so they can be taken into account when putting together the Core Strategy Issues and Options document.

And the vast majority said that large scale plans for housing should be rejected , while passionate representations were made for the council to protect the Green Belt and prioritise brownfield sites for developments.

Earlier this year, Banks Property revealed that it is looking to bring forward a scheme at Clickemin Farm which would see up to 500 new homes built on both sides of the A696, behind Cheviot View up to Rotary Way and also behind Ridgley Drive.

And a planning ideas day was held in June by Lugano Group, which represents a group of landowners on the edge of town, asking for people’s views about their development, environment and transport priorities.

Other points expressed at the event, which was put together by Ponteland North councillor Richard Dodd, included the belief that there should be some smaller dwellings for older people and affordable housing for younger people.

The area is seen to be low on shopping footage and short of employment land, and traffic congestion has been caused because infrastructure has not kept pace with the growth of the local population.

Coun Dodd said: “It was worthwhile having an event that was officially put on by the council and not self interest parties who had their interests at heart and not the heart of Ponteland.

“I look forward to the results of this event as it shapes Ponteland until 2031.

“There had been confusion with certain events and the council responded to my request by putting on this extra day and evening session to explain the Green Belt and issues of concern.”

Meanwhile, Lugano Group has unveiled details about the responses it received during its planning ideas day. About 400 people participated in workshops and completed feedback forms.

Issues raised centre around traffic congestion and lack of parking, measures to cope with flooding, the choice and quality of shopping, health, school and leisure facilities, flexibility of housing sizes and job opportunities.

Residents also said they are keen to retain the rural character of Ponteland and its ‘village’ size, and to protect the Green Belt.

Lugano Group Director Richard Robson said: “This was our first community event at Ponteland and it not only highlighted the concerns of local people, but also their eagerness to be involved in discussions about the future of their area.

“Infrastructure, affordable homes, the environment and the character of Ponteland were repeated issues in the discussions and workshops throughout the day and evening.

“We hope to attract as many residents to our next community event in September. We will use the detailed feedback from this session to inform our first stage plans for development, which we will bring along to the event and talk through with local people.”

A report of the session can be downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/planning-ideas-day-report