Town hall chiefs approved the latest stage of the South Tyneside Local Plan on August 7, which is supposed to set development priorities until 2036.
And the decision to give the green light to the draft document means the public will now be given a chance to have their say before it is handed over to the government for a final assessment.
“Nothing is set in stone,” Coun Iain Malcolm, the leader of South Tyneside Council, told yesterday’s cabinet meeting at South Shields Town Hall.
“This is not just about housing, this is about employment, leisure, transport and where we see the borough’s development going over the next 15 years.”
Man in life-threatening condition after 'serious collision' involving car and pedestrian in South Shields
Campaigners rally against Local Plan after farmland in Cleadon earmarked for 156 homes
Appeal to find owner of lost Labrador after dog found near Jarrow Cemetery
Pair set up cannabis farm in town centre flat
South Shields man jailed for terrifying physical and sexual assault on woman in her own home
Coun Malcolm added it would be a ‘long process’ before the policies in the plan are ready to be implemented, including public consultation and a public inquiry by an independent, government-appointed inspector.
The plan is currently expected to be given final approval by 2021 and would be in force for 15 years, until 2036.
According to government calculations, the borough will need 4,396 new homes over this period, with 81 sites allocated for building.
A council report says this could need 1,565 properties constructed in South Shields and a further 1,625 in East Boldon, West Boldon and Boldon Colliery, the two areas of the borough expected to see most development.
But opposition is expected to proposals that could see up to 2,391 homes built on 18 greenbelt sites across the borough after planners accepted it would not be ‘feasible’ to restrict work to brownfield sites only.
Coun John Anglin, cabinet member for regeneration and economy, said: “Without an up to date plan there is a risk development will happen incrementally or even that the government could take over [responsibility for it] – neither of those options is in the borough’s best interest.
“Using brownfield sites is a priority, with sites such as Holborn and Harton Quays proposed.
“But unfortunately there are not enough suitable sites and these exceptional circumstances leave us with no alternative but to propose amending our greenbelt.”