Worry over wildlife as homes planned at West Moor

EXECUTIVE homes to rival those of the region’s most exclusive neighbourhoods are being planned for North Tyneside.

nick price, Whitehouse Farm, Bellway Homes, West Moor Residents Association
nick price, Whitehouse Farm, Bellway Homes, West Moor Residents Association

EXECUTIVE homes to rival those of the region’s most exclusive neighbourhoods are being planned for North Tyneside.

Up to 350 luxury properties could be built at Whitehouse Farm, West Moor, in a bid to attract high-fliers to the borough.

However, local families have opposed the plans, saying the greenfield site is a vital asset because it is home to rare birds and wildlife.

The Bellway Homes development would include between 330 and 350 houses, as well as a new pub and shops. Access to the estate would be via a new roundabout on the A189.

Designed to appeal to buyers at the top end of the property market, the four and five-bedroom executive properties would provide up to 4,000sqft of living space. The development is being led by Newcastle-based architects POD, who hope it will rival the region’s most desirable post codes, including Darras Hall, near Ponteland, and Wynyard Woods, in Teesside.

Residents whose homes border the farm say the site is rich in wildlife, including rare species. Concerns have also been raised about the impact of the development on traffic and local services.

Nick Price, chair of the planning and development sub-committee of West Moor Resident’s Association, said: “We have held four meetings with local people, and Bellway have held their own open meeting. We are now distilling the feedback received so we can get a really clear view of what people in West Moor are saying.

“It is clear that the overwhelming ground swell of opinion is against this development, for a variety of reasons including loss of open space, loss of agricultural land and loss of recreational amenities. We will support local people and respond to their views on the forthcoming planning application.”

The farmland, which backs onto Gosforth wood, has a public bridle way running through it which is used for riding, walking, and wildlife-watching.

Garvin Sewell, 41, who lives in West Moor with his wife Pam, said: “In this small area of land we have a family of otters, water voles, yellow necked mice, crested and common newts and a large range of rare birds and other wildlife. We want to stop these incredible creatures being destroyed by the housing development.”

Bellway promise the estate will incorporate open spaces, and that landscape improvements will include sustainable urban drainage ponds. They have also pledged to improve pedestrian and bridle way links.

The developers, who are yet to submit their full planning application to North Tyneside Council, say the land is earmarked as a strategic development site and the proposals will contribute towards the council’s economic growth plans. The council said the core strategy for the area has not yet been approved. A spokesman said: “The Core Strategy Preferred Options consultation document, as part of the emerging Local Development Framework, identified this area as a key housing site to meet current housing need. However, following recent consultation, no decision has yet been made on whether the site will remain in the subsequent stages of the preparation of the Core Strategy.

The site is not in the Green Belt but it is currently protected through a Safeguarded Land designation in the Unitary Development Plan (UDP), which is our current development plan. Safeguarded Land can be defined as an open area of land, which may be required for development beyond the plan period.”

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