Campaigners have vowed to continue the fight against green belt development as a council publishes its final blue-print for 11,000 new homes.
Planners at Gateshead Council have allowed for 2,400 of their new properties to be built on existing green belt sites. While the overall number of homes to be built on countryside and green fields has shrunk from earlier plans, the space given over to new developments remains the same.
In Dunston Hill and Whickham, where 4,000 people signed a petition against original plans for 750 homes, the final number of houses has been reduced to 530.
Elsewhere across the borough’s countryside borders and villages, developments will start to spring up, including 385 new homes at Chopwell, 370 at Crawcrook and 530 at Ryton.
Councilor Jonathan Wallace, who represents Gateshead’s Whickham and Sunniside ward, said: “We will continue to fight these green belt proposals. Official figures show there is less need for these houses.”
Retired BT engineer Walter Ramsay, 84, who lives on Dunston Bank, said: “More houses in the area will knock the value off our homes. I’m really disappointed that the decision has been made. We will still fight this to the end. We will do anything we can to stop this.”
Gateshead Council originally considered constructing 5,200 homes across 22 sites as part of the controversial planning document Core Strategy prepared in conjunction with Newcastle City Council. That number was reduced to 2,900 however final plans show final land allocations are for 2420 homes.
Various sites will have restrictions on development, for example 42 homes at High Spen West and 132 at High Spen East can only be built on the grounds that a contribution is made from the developer to local primary school provision.
At Ryton it is recommended that traffic improvements should be made to junctions along the A695, including Blaydon Roundabout, the junction of Cushy Cow Lane and that Stargate Lane should be widened.
Anneliese Hutchinson, the council’s Service Director for Development and Public Protection, said: “We need to provide sufficient land to accommodate the expected growth in the number of households in Gateshead and our changing economy.
But there is simply not enough land within Gateshead’s existing urban areas and villages to meet our requirements.”