South Shields MP fears for ‘one of the most historic paths in the country’ as she backs campaigners fighting housing vision

A South Tyneside MP has spoken out against a vision to build 156 homes on greenbelt land next to an Anglo-Saxon right of way.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck is backing campaigners who live near the site at Sunniside Farm, roughly the size of 10 football pitches and used to grow wheat. It is owned by the Church of England.

The campaigners have a number of concerns over 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.

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Ms Lewell-Buck agrees and is particularly concerned about possible impact on the historic Bede’s Way.

Emma Lewell-Buck MP (red top) met with protesters on August 5.

The MP met with residents on August 5. Parliament reconvenes on September 5 and she says she will submit a petition as soon as she is given a slot. She has also voiced her objections to South Tyneside Council.

Ms Lewell-Buck said: “The land cuts across two constituencies. I’ve been meeting with the residents who live in the South Shields part.

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“The main concerns are that it’s building on the greenbelt and it’s a protected wildlife area with bats and owls there.

“Some residents have backgrounds in planning and also geology. One of them mentioned the geological impact. The ground isn’t suitable because it’s full of magnesium limestone; so building there doesn’t work.

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The protesters want the land to be left as it is.

“They also said the land was rich in carbon, so if digging starts it releases CO2 into the atmosphere.

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“What really upset me was that there’s a 7th century path there, one of the most historic paths in the country. It was used by Bede and this development could rip it up.

“I’m working with the residents to submit a parliamentary petition. My office has been working with one of the residents on the wording. As soon as it’s ready to go I’ll present it to parliament.

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“I think it should be left as it is. A lot of the numbers don’t stack up. What we need is social housing and a lot of this isn’t social housing; so who’s it for?"

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A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “Nothing is set in stone.”