East Boldon villagers write to Government after draft plans for ‘3,000 homes on green belt land’

Villagers have written to the Government demanding green belt land is better protected as future housing plans are drawn up.

Council chiefs are encouraging people from all parts of South Tyneside to have their say before a final document is produced and approved.

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The document has already sparked controversy in some areas, however, including in East Boldon, where a residents group has written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to ask that the green belt is taken into account and given protection when Ministers set housing targets for local authorities.

Villagers have written to the Government over green belt land.

The East Boldon Forum said the present plan would see 3,000 houses potentially built on green belt land, including areas in and around the villages of Whitburn, Cleadon, East Boldon and Fellgate.

Roy Wilburn, vice-chairman of the East Boldon Forum, told members at a recent meeting, ‘to build on the green belt is wrong for so many reasons’.

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He said: “We are facing a Climate Change Emergency; Wild Life Habitat is disappearing before our eyes and Food Security is now a major concern.

"The Government’s formula relies on out-of-date information and we risk losing some of the most iconic and valuable green belt land in the borough’.

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The forum members say they have made the case that long-established villages do not have the infrastructure and services to accommodate the major house building proposed, and that increased traffic would cause major problems for residents.

It comes after the recent adoption of the ‘Neighbourhood Plan for East Boldon’, which Mr Wilburn said ‘sought to protect the green belt and was supported by so many people’.

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He said the Draft Local Plan ‘rides roughshod over this and puts forward many of the proposals rejected by residents in an earlier local plan consultation’.

He added: “It’s not surprising that many people feel that they are powerless and not listened to.”

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The forumis encouraging residents not to give in and to respond to the latest proposal by the deadline of August 14.