Gateshead green belt battle enters final stage

Plans to build 11,000 new homes in the Gateshead area begin their final consultation this week before the Government watchdog has its say

Chad Welch Protesters in Ryton make their feelings known about council plans to build 550 houses
Protesters in Ryton make their feelings known about council plans to build 550 houses

The green belt battle in Gateshead is approaching its final stage as the council prepares for the Government watchdog to have its say.

Final plans to build 11,000 new homes, some 2,400 of which are on green belt land, begin their final consultation this week.

A final version is now in place and will be discussed before the Government has its say. The consultation, the last chance for the public to comment before the Planning Inspectorate prepares a public examination, comes as green belt campaigners continue their opposition to the building plans.

Gateshead Council strategic director of development and enterprise, Paul Dowling, said: “We need to create a plan to boost economic growth and meet demand for homes.

“It is vital that we ensure Gateshead can grow in a logical and structured way. Without this plan we would be far more likely to face extreme pressure from developers on sites which are unsuitable for development.

“Fundamentally the plan is about ensuring that the right developments happen in the right place at the right time.

“Gateshead has a long and successful track record of regenerating brown field sites and creating new communities.

“It certainly isn’t the easy option but we remain committed to regeneration. This plan will ensure that regeneration projects in existing built up areas can meet the vast majority of demand for development right up to 2030.”

The plans are being prepared jointly by Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council to meet the need of population growth up to 2030. It could see the building of 11,000 new homes, 2,400 of which will be on green belt land.

Some of the big areas highlighted for new homes include currently unused land surrounding the Metrocentre and central Gateshead, where a new community is envisaged. Plans have also attracted local opposition.

In Dunston Hill and Whickham, where 4,000 people signed a petition against the original plans for 750 homes, the number of properties has been reduced to 530.

Elsewhere in the borough, developments will include 385 homes at Chopwell, 370 at Crawcrook and 530 at Ryton.

The Core Strategy and Urban Core Plan for Gateshead and Newcastle public consultation period runs until October 21.

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