Out in force to protest against housing plans

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HUNDREDS of protestors showed the strength of feeling against plans for new housing in Ponteland on Monday.

The members of the Ponteland Greenbelt Group, many of whom brought banners and placards, turned out at a site visit for the application by Lugano Group for up to 280 properties and other facilities at Birney Hill.

Protesters meeting at the Birney Hill site near Ponteland that is being proposed that the green belt land is built on.  Councillors doing a site visit with the planning officer. GM022703

Protesters meeting at the Birney Hill site near Ponteland that is being proposed that the green belt land is built on. Councillors doing a site visit with the planning officer. GM022703

The silent protest took place as the west area planning committee had a look around the land in question. Local councillors also attended in support of the group.

A total of 4,300 objections have been lodged. Concerns include the extra traffic which would result from an influx of families, increased pressure on the existing village infrastructure and potential flooding implications.

Greenbelt Group chair Alma Dunigan said she was told it was the largest turnout by members of the public for a site visit in the county.

Hundreds of letters of support have also been received. Positive comments have been made in particular about the community trust aspect.

Lugano argues that there is not enough brownfield land to accommodate the demands of the county council, so some new homes will have to be built in the greenbelt.