Campaigners turn out for day of action to protest against popular Boldon park being earmarked for housing development
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The development blue print earmarks areas for 5,000 homes to be built across South Tyneside, but campaigners fear the impact of building on green belt sites and green spaces in the borough.
The possibility of Disco Fields being built on raised concern among Boldon residents including Michael Howe, who started the Friends of Disco Fields Facebook page, which has over 700 members.
To show their displeasure at the plans, Michael at the page arranged a day of action at the park, with residents turning out in a bid to showcase the areas popularity.
Michael said: “The park has over 100 mature trees, hedges, wildlife, bio-diversity and is an open green space used by everyone. Kids socialise here, it’s good for mental health, fighting obesity, you name it, but the council want to squash all that and build some houses on it.
"On one part of the park there’s a little hill and you can probably say six generations of kids have learned to ride their bikes there. It means a lot to a lot of people.”
Joyce Groombridge, who attended the event, said: “The road near Asda is always heaving with cars, you’ve got trees taking in carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen, so it’s a healthy place for kids and it’s a safe place for kids to play. there’s not many places where kids can go play freely, football rounders you know, have a picnic like they are now, but this is one of them.”
Campaigner David Fall added: “There’s a lot of housing around here in any place. There’s a couple of schools and they deserve recreational space. My grandkids have played at this park since they were little and have always loved it.
Residents have until August 14 in which to submit their views on the plans by visiting Local Plan 2022 - South Tyneside Council - Citizen Space at https://www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/36011
In response to the campaign, Cllr Margaret Meling, Lead Member for Economic Growth, Skills and Climate Change, at South Tyneside Council, said the local authority welcomed all views on the Local Plan and encouraged others to come forward.
She said responses would be considered by officers if they were submitted to the council.
“We’ve had a great response to consultation on the local plan so far, with our 11 events well attended and more than 1,500 comments received to date,” she said.
“For those who have not yet given their views, the consultation period does not close until Sunday, August 14.
“Officers will analyse responses to help shape the next phase of the plan, and ultimately, the plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State for a Public Examination before an independent Planning Inspector.
"To be formally considered, views must be made in writing via the appropriate channels. For further information, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/localplan”