Public meeting arranged to talk about homes bid

PONTELAND residents will get the chance to have their say on a controversial housing application.

A public meeting has been arranged to discuss Lugano Group’s outline proposal for up to 280 homes and other facilities on a site at Birney Hill. It will take place on Wednesday, October 9, in the dining hall at Ponteland High School from 6pm.

About 3,000 people have put forward an objection and some organisations are against it, including Ponteland Town Council.

More than 250 letters of support have been received. Positive comments have been made in particular about the community trust aspect of the scheme and the number of jobs it would create over the next 10 years.

Leading the campaign against the plans is the Ponteland Greenbelt Group, which was set up to oppose all applications in the designated area.

Its concerns include a belief that nearby properties will be more likely to flood from the surface water run-off coming from the properties, the extra traffic which would result from an influx of families, the estate would put more pressure on the existing village infrastructure which is already under strain, only a few of the homes would available for social rent so most would be unaffordable to those in need of affordable housing and the economic and other benefits of the agricultural land would be lost.

One of its members, Sue Johnson, said: “The meeting gives Ponteland residents and anyone else interested in what is going on at Birney Hill an opportunity to ask questions and make comments about the scheme.

“We would like as many people as possible to go along to show the strength of feeling in the community against these plans.”