North Tyneside residents unhappy after house build plans revealed

The extent of house building plans have been revealed to residents in North Tyneside, with many unhappy with the proposals

The derelict High Point Hotel on Whitley Bay sea front
The derelict High Point Hotel on Whitley Bay sea front

Five schools, a hospital, a library, swimming pool, and Whitley Bay FC have all been identified as possible sites for new homes, plans have revealed.

The proposals – which could also see a police station, Metro and bus depots, an ice rink, and allotments cleared for housing – have been put forward as a possible solution to the Government’s call for 16,000 new homes in North Tyneside by 2030.

But with just days before the end of the first round of consultations, the authority is facing an angry backlash from families who say they had no idea that their local services and amenities were under threat.

“The first stage finishes on January 6 but many residents seem to have been told nothing about that,” said fundraiser Ivan Hollingsworth, whose son Seb was born with a congenital heart defect but has gone on to play rugby at Whitley Bay Rockcliff RFC and be part of a dance group at the nearby youth centre, which could be under threat.

“And though when this stage ends, it doesn’t mean everything will be flattened, the lack of information doesn’t bode well.

“The mayor and councillors seem to be able to send out Christmas cards but not tell us anything about proposals that could see the heart of Whitley Bay ripped down. In only a few days since finding out I seem to have found there are a lot of questions but not many clear answers.

“I was directed to a web page with a map, but it is huge and as a resident it is quite difficult to understand because it covers such a massive area.”

The map issued as part of the consultation shows the whole of the borough of North Tyneside, with coloured overlays showing the proposed areas of development.

The largest of those are found on currently empty, non green-belt land around Murton and Killingworth Moor - though there are more than 100 potential sites that are deemed potentially suitable for housing.

St Stephen’s Primary in Longbenton, Percy Hedley School, nearby St Bartholomew’s Primary, Parkside School, and Marine Park and Coquet Park First School are all on land identified as possible development sites.

So too is Wallsend library, town hall and police station, the Langdale adult education centre, the Longbenton Foods factory site, Tyneview Park, which backs on to Newcastle United’s training ground, The Mullen Road nurseries and Dorset House care home.

Other possibilities are Percy Main bus depot, the North Shields Metro depot, the recently-closed Wet N Wild water park and the Star Bowl tenpin bowling alley next door, and Tynemouth’s Victoria Jubilee Infirmary.

A spokesperson for North Tyneside Council - which has sent “summary brochures” about the proposals to all homes in the borough - reassured residents’ fears, saying that in all likelihood not all of the listed sites, none of which are on green belt land, would be considered for housing.

“The Government requires the council to prepare a 15-year plan setting out how much new housing, employment and retailing is required in North Tyneside,” she said. “The plan will identify sites where new developments could occur.

“We are carrying out initial engagement on the draft local plan with the public and further full consultations are planned for the summer and autumn of 2014.

“No decisions have been taken and any which are will take into account feedback from the consultation process.

“The draft plan includes over 100 sites, which we don’t anticipate will all be used, and we very much welcome and encourage comments from residents to help to decide the best option for the borough.

“We are committed to working with our residents and partners to protect the unique qualities that make our borough a great place as well as provide enough land for the jobs and homes we need now.

“Any proposals will be subject to the usual planning consultation.”

Residents can view the plans by visiting bit.ly/NorthTynesidePlan. A copy of the documents can be requested on the council’s website at www.northtyneside.gov.uk , by emailing planning.policy@northtyneside.gov.uk, or by calling 0191 643 2310.

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