Friday, 24 February 2012

Victory in sight for Greenbelt battle?

It looks like victory may be in sight for the campaign to save the Ponteland Greenbelt. Regular readers will know I have fighting plans by Newcastle City Council to dump 3,500 houses on the greenbelt between Callerton and Ponteland.

Back in September I wrote to the leader of the council outlining my opposition:

"You are not intending to build on brownfield land first, nor are you intending to make significant use of the many unused empty homes across Newcastle and Gateshead. You only have to drive towards the City Centre to see a huge number of brownfield sites which could be developed sustainably.

As a regular volunteer at Scotswood Community Garden I am deeply saddened that you would put forward these proposals for new housing estates in the middle of green fields while you continue to ignore these areas desperately crying out for regeneration, which has stalled for too long."

Well it turns out the Council now seems possibly to accept we were right after all. Magically the Council has now been able “to identify more deliverable housing sites within the urban area over the plan period and so there is now a need for less development in green belt areas to meet identified housing needs.”

It has been a very scary experience to see the Labour Councillors and MPs in Newcastle trying to claim they were being forced to build these houses on the greenbelt which was and always has been utter nonsense.

We will find out their exact plans when the Labour cabinet meet on February 28 but I sincerely hope we see the threat to the Ponteland and Callerton greenbelt lifted once and for all.