THE future of one of the region’s most affluent communities – including potential large-scale new housing development – will be put under the microscope at a major public consultation event later this month.
Newcastle-based Lugano Group is holding the “planning ideas day” to examine the long-term needs and possible growth of future generations living in Ponteland and Darras Hall.
The event will explore local people’s priorities and concerns, and their feedback will be used to help frame future regeneration and development proposals – which could include plans to build more than 1,000 new homes on green belt land on the fringes of the town.
The Journal revealed last month how the Lugano Group is acting on behalf of investors interested in a number of sites said to be capable of taking up to 1,000 new homes.
In addition Banks Property – part of the North East-based Banks Group – is working on separate plans to build about 500 homes at Clickemin Farm, to the south-east of Ponteland.
Lugano’s consultation event will be held in the Memorial Hall at 10am on June 14.
It will include five workshop discussions with specialists, a public presentation and the chance for locals to look at design ideas and suggestions for future change. Yesterday a spokeswoman for the company said: “The day will explore the future of the entire town, including current housing, shops, businesses, leisure and green areas and the town centre.
“The aim is to identify the strengths of Ponteland and find out what needs to be improved to meet the aspirations of people who live and work there, now and in the future. Issues to consider are likely to include the range and quality of shops and services, addressing traffic congestion and infrastructure, the size, location and affordability of new homes and the natural landscape around Ponteland.”
Lugano says initial discussions have already generated ideas including new types of energy-efficient homes for local people, helping wildlife, tackling flooding and traffic and creating business workspaces.
The prospect of large-scale new housing in the green belt around Ponteland has already been opposed by Hexham MP Guy Opperman and local Conservative county councillors.
Yesterday town councillor and former Ponteland mayor Robin Ramsay said the town council would be tabling its own plans for the future of the community, and ideas about how it should be developed, at its meeting on June 13. He urged as many people as possible to take part in the Lugano ideas day, where it is hoped that locals will find out more details about potential future developments.
He said: “At present we don’t really know very much about what is actually being proposed, and once we have some ideas we can make more sensible comments.
“I would certainly encourage people to attend the event in the Memorial Hall, and put their ideas on the table about what they would like to see happen in Ponteland, and what they don’t want to see.”