New call for residents to fight plans in green belt

Details of the West Clickemin Farm plans will be on display in Ponteland Leisure Centre today and tomorrow.
Details of the West Clickemin Farm plans will be on display in Ponteland Leisure Centre today and tomorrow.

Ponteland residents are being urged to submit fresh objections to the latest Northumberland County Council consultation in the week that plans for more new homes in the area were unveiled.

Banks Property, part of regional employer the Banks Group, is currently showing its revised plans for its West Clickemin Farm scheme – up to 400 homes – in Ponteland Leisure Centre.

The 21-hectare site to the west of the A696 and north of the B6545 (Rotary Way) is currently four arable fields within the green belt. New footpaths and cycleways would be built.

Earlier this year, Northumberland County Council submitted an expression of interest to central Government for support in developing proposals for a new garden village of up to 2,000 homes on land owned by The Dissington Estate, which has developed the proposals.

If both these schemes get the go-ahead, more than 3,000 residential properties will be built in the area over the next decade, when adding other developments already with approval.

They are both mentioned in the final major modifications document for the county council’s core strategy. Public consultation on it runs from tomorrow to Friday, December 23, and full details will be available at www.northumberland.gov.uk

Ponteland Green Belt Group chairman Tony Noble said: “Ponteland currently stands to be allocated nearly 15 per cent of the total Northumberland housing requirement to 2031 – how can that be right?

“Neither the garden village, nor the Banks Property proposal sits in isolation, they form part of a bigger picture that must also take into consideration the impact of Newcastle developments and green-belt deletion on the borders of Ponteland.

“All numbers quoted by the county council are the minimum suggestion and it will need to demonstrate the exceptional circumstances for releasing green-belt land for housing developments when the core strategy is assessed by the planning inspector.

“Ponteland residents have been subjected to over a dozen consultations from the county council in recent times, but we would urge them to continue to focus their concerns on the core strategy and register those concerns during the latest ‘consultation’ on a supplementary planning document for Ponteland.”

The Banks Property plans do not go into major detail, but its information does mention that there would be gateway features at the entrance of both access points and an extended 40mph speed limit put in place on Rotary Way.

They can still be seen during the opening hours of the leisure centre (7am to 10pm) today and tomorrow and members of the project team will be present between 1pm and 3pm tomorrow to answer questions.

Michael Shuttleworth, managing director at Banks Property, said: “We have created a high-quality scheme for what we believe is the most appropriate location in the area for residential development.

“Alongside the new housing, the West Clickemin Farm scheme will also bring a range of community, economic and environmental benefits to the local area.”