Newcastle councillors push on with green belt homes plan

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes has insisted that plans to build 21,000 properties on green belt land is essential for the city to develop

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes
Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes

Councillors are pushing forward with plans to open up green belt land for housing in a controversial blueprint for development in Newcastle.

But campaigners against Newcastle City Council’s Core Strategy and Urban Core Plan, which will enable developers to build 21,000 new properties over the next two decades, say housing will flood Tyneside’s countryside.

The authority reduced the number of homes to be allowed on green belt to 6,000 after the initial number was 7,500.

At a meeting of the council’s cabinet yesterday council leader Nick Forbes said the blueprint was essential for the city to develop.

He said the plans would create jobs and see the “regional capital” to grow in the future.

“I’m not willing to let this city wither and die and become a shadow of its former self,” he said. “This city has a great future and we need to make sure people, young people in particular, feel they have opportunities here.”

Public consultation will take place from September 9 top October 21 before a meeting of all councillors will pass any final plans early in 2014.

Jill Burrell, of the Cities for People campaign, said she and others are building a case to put to the Government when the proposals are sent to them for independent review next year.

She said: “We are fighting this to the bitter end.

“We are now looking long term and we are building a strong case.”

John Urquhart, of the Save Gosforth Wildlife campaign group, said: “The devil is in the detail and we need more information from the city council.

“It isn’t just a question of where houses are built, it is about what kind of houses are built and for whom and how much they are going to cost.”

Mr Urquhart added better infrastructure and a more joined-up approach to housing development is needed as opposed to homes on green belt land.

“We applaud the idea that Newcastle should be the regional capital but the first thing that a regional capital needs is good transport links,” he said.

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