Hundreds sign petition opposing £700 million ‘garden village’ development - including 3,000 new homes - in South Tyneside

A petition against potential plans for a multi-million pound development in South Tyneside has gathered more than 500 signatures from local residents.

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 6:15 am

Described as a “self-sustaining” community, it would see three new villages each with their own facilities, as well as 600 affordable homes on the stretch of land between White Mare Pool and Testos roundabout.

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Fellgate Councillors Alan Smith and Geraldine Kilgour with residents opposing proposals to build on greenbelt.

Developers Laverick Hall Farm Ltd submitted the proposals for consideration as part of the public consultation on the Draft Local Plan.

But despite the fact that no planning application has yet been made, 510 people have signed the petition opposing the plans, with the backing of Fellgate and Hedworth councillors Geraldine Kilgour and Alan Smith.

Speaking at a Full Council meeting on Thursday, February 27, Coun Kilgour said: “We strongly oppose any development proposals on Fellgate greenbelt. The objection submitted by Laverick Hall Farm Ltd clearly does not demonstrate exceptional circumstances which justify making changes to the greenbelt within the borough.

“We urge South Tyneside Council to reject this submission which is in favour of a wholly unacceptable development.”

Illustrative layout of proposals for ‘Laverick Park Garden Community Development’ south of Fellgate, South Tyneside.

Edward Yuill, managing director of Cecil M Yuill, a partner in Laverick Hall Farm Ltd, responded: “In the Draft Local Plan, the Council confirmed its view that there is a need for a minimum of 7,000 new homes to be built in the Borough up to 2036. In order to ensure these housing needs are met, the Draft Local Plan confirmed that it will be necessary to release some Green Belt land and proposed to release 18 sites totalling 2,391 houses focused on the villages of East and West Boldon, Cleadon and Whitburn.

“In our view, Laverick Park, which is being planned as a holistic, self-sustaining garden community whereby all of the community facilities and infrastructure, including road improvements, schools, shops, medical, employment, sports and recreation are all hard-wired in from the start. This avoids placing further pressure on already stretched services in the villages which I worry will be overloaded and simply unable to cope.”

He added: “Laverick Park will also include over 85 hectares of high quality, publicly accessible green open space and park lands. The location of Laverick Park, which adjoins the main urban area and is contained by development on all sides, will also benefit from excellent accesses to public transport, including buses and Metro, and is co-located strategically close to IAMP and Nissan.

Artist impressions of one of three villages in proposals for ‘Laverick Park Garden Community Development’ south of Fellgate, South Tyneside.

“In our view Laverick Park eminently represents the most sustainable strategy for meeting housing need and we will be engaging with the Local Plan process further as it progresses. I would like to be clear that we are not talking about a planning application at this stage.”