Campaigners and MP take part in protest gathering in fight to save green space from new Holborn housing development
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Plans have been lodged for up to 350 homes built in the Holborn area of South Shields as part of a £200million blueprint for riverside regeneration.
Developer Keepmoat has predicted the £150million housing development could create or protect a combined 1,500 jobs during construction and create up to 1,550 more opportunities at office space planned for the wider proposals.
The project would see the redevelopment of derelict dockland. But many in the community are unhappy at the loss of a neighbouring green space, which includes a children's play area.
Ms Lewell-Buck is supporting a campaign against the proposals led by the South Tyneside Tree Action Group, and a protest gathering took place on Sunday, October 10.
Campaigners are hoping to convince councillors to put a stop to the plans and believe while most of the development will be good for the area, part of it – which they say is set to turn a green space and children’s play area into around 40 houses – should not go ahead.
Rachael Milne, of the South Tyneside Tree Action Group, said: “This area is a safe space for children to play which gets used by kids every single day as well as by dog walkers and the wider community. It’s a really well used area.
“I think it’s just completely wrong that this green space has been included in the main Holborn development site.”
The group has also launched a petition which has almost 1,000 signatures and has been supported by Ms Lewell-Buck.
The Labour MP said: “This is one of the most well-used parks in South Shields. The new development, nobody is against that, we all want to see improvements to the town – but I don’t see why the development has to get rid of a field and a well-used park.
“The community effort here has been amazing. People have been running this campaign for a long time now and considering it’s a Sunday, it’s not the best of days, there’s enough people come out to show support and local voices need to be listened to.
"When it comes to planning, often people feel they’re ignored and not listened to and that big developers have the upper hand when really we should all be working together to try and preserve the best bits of the community while developing the bits people are happy to be developed."
Keepmoat has been contacted for comment.
In the past, the developer has stressed its vision for the area is ‘to create a place where people want to live and enjoy’ and that the plans, if approved, will ‘ensure the development is a major benefit to the existing community as well as providing much-needed new homes on a site that has been left derelict for many years’.
The company has previously said it had listened to the community and amended plans to include a new play area for younger children.