Protest campaign steps up a gear

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THE campaign to protect Ponteland’s Green Belt has stepped up a gear.

A formal protest against plans for major new housing estates by Banks Property and Lugano Group took place on Tuesday morning and another is planned for Saturday.

Hundreds of people have pledged their support to the Ponteland Green Belt Group, which is fighting to prevent any development on this land in the area, since it was set up this summer.

Banks is looking to bring forward a scheme at Clickemin Farm that 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.

Lugano is aiming to develop 280 properties at Birney Hill, located to the south west of the Darras Hall estate. The company has already held two public events and on Saturday it will be staging an exhibition specifically about its Birney Hill proposals.

The Green Belt Group raised its profile by demonstrating outside the town council’s offices in Meadowfield before the authority’s planning committee discussed a scoping document recently put forward by Lugano.

Protection Co-ordinator John Blundell said: “More than 1,000 people in Ponteland and Darras Hall are backing the campaign and about half are now in direct email contact with us.

“It’s important that everyone in the village makes their feelings known to Lugano that its housing plans are not welcome.”

A total of 60 affordable homes would be part of the development and the exhibition will also include information on housing design, flooding issues, transport, community facilities, landscape, wildlife and sustainability.

It will take place in the Memorial Hall from 11am to 4pm.