Community bid for land falls short but sparks new village campaign group

Cleadon Village residents share land sale on Sunniside Lane. Front Colin Campbell
Cleadon Village residents share land sale on Sunniside Lane. Front Colin Campbell

A community campaign to buy a plot of land to protect it from being developed has fallen flat - but could see a new organisation formed to protect a village’s future.

Colin Campbell called a meeting of Cleadon residents with the idea that they could pitch in £1,000 each to raise the funds to buy the up for sale field in Sunniside Lane.

Cleadon Village residents share land sale on Sunniside Lane.

Cleadon Village residents share land sale on Sunniside Lane.

He had suggested it could be used by travellers who could then apply for retrospective planning permission to set up a camp there, with Mr Campbell suggesting the space could be used by residents for equine or agriculture, as well as by community groups, under ownership of shareholders.

A meeting held in the village hall earlier this week was attended by around 120 people and around 40 people said they would add funds to the pot in a bid to try and buy the site at auction.

Around £60,000 was pledged in principle by supporters in total.

But with a guide price of £150,000 - and bidding closed by the estate agent a day before the discussions - Mr Campbell conceded the plan would not work.

We will not be able to buy the land because we could only raise about £60,000.

Colin Campbell

The second item on the agenda was to suggest the formation of Cleadon Village Neighbourhood Forum.

Others have already been set up in Whitburn and East Boldon and will give the group a stronger voice when consultation is carried out on planning applications and shape a proposal to help the community shape its future.

Mr Campbell, who lives in Cleadon Meadows, runs Tyne and Wear Properties and is executive officer of South Tyneside Landlords’ Association, said: “We will not be able to buy the land because we could only raise about £60,000 and that wouldn’t be enough according to the agent if that’s the most we can offer.

“We were told it had a guide price of £150,000 and that someone had already bid that.

“The future of this land is that it will be sold the highest bidder and it depends on what they want to do with it, but we will be using the neighbourhood forum to look at it and tell the council if it should grant permission for this or that.”

The forum needs around 21 members, with more welcomed, with each to be asked to contribute £5 a month, which would cover the cost of secretarial services and legal advice on planning applications.

A meeting is proposed for 7pm on Tuesday, July 24, at the village hall.

Anyone who would like to find out more can email campbellcolin9@aol.com.