Greenbelt homes cut proposed

A REDUCTION in the number of new homes planned for the greenbelt area between Ponteland and the edge of Newcastle has been proposed.

But the area’s MP and a campaign group believe the city council can go much further.

At a special cabinet meeting, the authority set out plans to build additional houses on brownfield sites over the next 20 years and bring empty homes back into use.

This will see a decrease in the number of properties to be built on greenbelt land in areas such as Callerton, Throckley and Kenton Bank Foot. However, the total is still around 5,500.

Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham, said: “Despite telling us they had to go ahead with the plans, Newcastle City Council has now agreed to cut the number of homes planned for the Ponteland greenbelt by about 1,000. I would like to see no building on the greenbelt but it’s a step in the right direction.

“Its administration has accepted our argument that it can make better use of brownfield sites and empty homes in the city, however our campaign isn’t over and the fight continues to protect our greenbelt.”

Revised policies will be brought forward for a new three-month consultation period starting in June. In the previous consultation, 15,000 submissions were made (including petitions) and the majority of these were against housing being built on the greenbelt.

Newcastle West Greenbelt Protection Campaign Group Chairman Adam Vaughan, who attended the meeting, said: “We welcome the council’s proposals to support brownfield development, but the revised proposals do fall short of committing to protect greenbelt sites until all brownfield sites have been developed.

“We’re extremely concerned about the impact these plans will have, particularly on the Callerton area, and Ponteland will not be happy that some of the green gap between it and the edge of Newcastle will be built upon.

“As well as the visual impact, there would be a big increase in traffic into the city, which would affect Ponteland residents.

“During the next consultation period, we will be publicising the negative impact that building so many new homes on the greenbelt would have, holding public meetings and encouraging people to make objections.”