Can scarecrows frighten off development plans for green spaces?

Residents of Shearwater ad White Rocks Grove, Whitburn, who are worried about green land in the village that may be earmarked for housing developments.

Residents of Shearwater ad White Rocks Grove, Whitburn, who are worried about green land in the village that may be earmarked for housing developments.

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More scarecrows have appeared in a village as residents make their voices heard in protest at proposals to build on green spaces.

Residents living in Shearwater and White Rocks Grove, in Whitburn, have come together and made their own scarecrows to adorn their properties in the hope it will raise awareness of their concerns over South Tyneside Council’s Strategic Land Review.

Jean Murphy (left) and Dorothy Fleet of Shearwater and White Rocks Grove, Whitburn, who are worried about green land in the village that may be earmarked for housing developments.

Jean Murphy (left) and Dorothy Fleet of Shearwater and White Rocks Grove, Whitburn, who are worried about green land in the village that may be earmarked for housing developments.

The review is a draft assessment of sites deemed most suitable to meet housing requirements over the next 20 years.

It has highlighted numerous green spaces in the village and surrounding areas which have been earmarked as potential places to develop.

Residents are concerned over green spaces which include land to the north of Shearwater and east of Mill Lane; land to the east of Mill Lane and land at Marsden Avenue, which has been highlighted as ‘amber,’ meaning that the sites are considered potentially suitable for development.

Dorothy Fleet, a retired teacher who has lived on the White Rocks Grove estate for the last 10 years, said it was her idea to get residents together to make the scarecrows on Saturday.

Residents of Shearwater and White Rocks Grove, Whitburn, who are worried about green land in the village that may be earmarked for housing developments.

Residents of Shearwater and White Rocks Grove, Whitburn, who are worried about green land in the village that may be earmarked for housing developments.

She said: “When I saw the leaflets outlining the review I was really concerned and felt that I had to do something.

“I contacted the families on the two estates and asked them to come together to make the scarecrows last Saturday which they have put on their properties as a way to rasing awareness.
“We want to keep Whitburn as it is. It is a lovely rural village and it would be dreadful for it to be spoilt with developments.
“The volume of traffic along the Coast Road is already high and putting more houses along the road would lead to the risk of more accidents.”

Jean Murphy, 56, who is retired and lives with her husband in Shearwater, agreed and said she didn’t think the village could ‘cope’ with the increased traffic as a result and feared the natural beauty of the village would be ruined.
She said: “We made around 13 scarecrows and put them on our properties over the weekend as we felt that we had to do something to raise awareness.
“The village is surrounded by countryside and it would be such as shame to see it go.

“Behind my house is the Whitburn Point Nature Reserve which is a sanctuary for the birds and at the bottom of my garden there are bats.

“One of the reasons we bought here was because of the view and love being by the coast and the sea.

“I understand that we need houses but I think that the village can’t take anymore, so we needed to speak up.”

It comes after 11 scarecrows dressed in football kits also appeared at the Cleadon Lane Playing Fields, in Whitburn.

Scores of young footballers and coaches from Whitburn and Cleadon Junior Football Club and concerned parents have joined forces to kick off a passionate protest against potential plans to sell off their pitches to housing developers.

Club members have already gone on the march – dressed in full kit and armed with red cards – in an effort to shoot down the plans from council chiefs

The scarecrow squad –complete with their own goalkeeper and with footballs for head – are standing defiantly on what has been the football club’s home turf for more than 27 years.

Councillor Allan West, Lead Member for Housing and Transport, said: “We’ve had a good response to our consultation around the Strategic Land Review and we’d like to thank the residents and businesses who took the time to have their say.

“Their feedback, along with other evidence, will now be used to help refine site assessments and prepare the council’s proposed development site allocations.

“There will be further consultation throughout the development of the Local Plan and we would encourage people to share their views.”

To view the plan visit: http://www.southtyneside.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=27705&p=0