Fears people 'will not bother' having their say on the vision for South Tyneside because events are not accessible
The public ‘may not bother’ commenting on a major shake-up of South Tyneside’s planning rules because consultation events are too far away for them.
Councillors have warned the borough’s planning bosses the distance some may need to travel could be a deterrent and suggested more central alternatives.
The latest draft of the South Tyneside Local Plan could pave the way for almost 5,000 new homes, as well as set other development policies and priorities until 2036.
Coun Bill Brady, who represents South Shields’s Whiteleas ward, said he was concerned some could need to get two buses to reach some of the nine planned drop-in events organised as part of the plan’s consultation.
Coun Doreen Purvis, who represents the same ward, added: “The only venue in South Shields is Haven Point, which is not exactly the easiest place to get to.
“Somewhere like the Word would have been a lot more central, but some people are going to have to come from the estates and I’m afraid they may not bother.”
Consultation on the draft local plan officially started on August 19 and will run until October 11.
As well as the nine drop-in events currently scheduled where the public will be able to give their views on the document, a further two are expected to be confirmed later.
Hard copies of the plan are also available in the borough’s libraries, South Shields Town Hall, Jarrow Town Hall and the Word, while comments can be submitted by post and online.
Cleadon Park councillor Alexander Donaldson said: “People should be aware that they can have an influence on this.
“I’m sure some people won’t bother and then in the years to come will criticise things, even though they should have availed themselves of the chance to put their opinions into a very important document.”
Following the current round of consultation the draft is expected to be amended before being submitted to the government for consideration.
The plan is currently expected to be given final approval by 2021 and would be in force for 15 years, until 2036.