Cleadon housing protesters’ petition going to parliament as they fight vision for homes on greenbelt land

Campaigners fighting a vision to build 156 properties on greenbelt land in are to have their petition taken to parliament

The plot near Cleadon Hills, owned by the Church of England, is roughly equal in size to 10 football pitches and is used for wheat farming.

In 2021 a housing commission, set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, said thousands of hectares owned by the church could be used to build affordable homes.

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But people living nearby say the vision to build homes on the land, which is set out in the draft ‘Local Plan’ for South Tyneside, would be disastrous.

Cleadon residents oppose the housing proposals.

The group is launching a petition against its including in the development blueprint, and say the Clerk of the House of Commons, John Benger, has agreed it can the petition go ahead.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck will take the document to parliament.

The campaigners’ concerns include urban sprawl, air quality, light pollution, increased traffic, noise, biodiversity, ecology, the possible removal of an ancient boundary between Cleadon and South Shields and closeness to the Cleadon Hills Local Nature Reserve.

The development would also be very close to a 7th century right of way, which forms part of the Bede’s Way, an historic trail and tourist attraction.

The footpath, first documented in Anglo-Saxon times, links the ancient monasteries of St Paul’s in Jarrow and St Peter’s in Monkwearmouth.

The petition states that its signatories: “Request that the House of Commons urge the Government to change the National Planning Policy Framework to include a clause of right of refusal of development on the green belt land, thus giving local people the right to say what is to happen in their community.”

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A consultation period on the Local Plan held by South Tyneside Council ended on August 14.

Cllr Margaret Meling, the council’s lead member for Economic Growth, Skills and Climate Change, has said that no decision has yet been made.

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She said “Nothing is set in stone; 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.

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“To be formally considered, views must be made in writing via the appropriate channels. For further information visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/localplan.”