More greenbelt land faces being earmarked for housing under re-write of planning policy in South Tyneside

More greenbelt land could be earmarked for housing under a planned re-write of a major planning policy for South Tyneside.

More greenbelt land could be used for housing under new plans.
More greenbelt land could be used for housing under new plans.

Borough bosses had hoped to see the South Tyneside Local Plan adopted later this year paving the way for up to 5,000 new homes.

Cllr John Anglin, cabinet member for regeneration and economy at South Tyneside Council, said: “While we are keen to protect our green spaces where possible, we do have to look at all options to accommodate future development.

Cllr John Anglin

“This is an issue being faced by councils across the country.

“Here in South Tyneside we are heavily constrained by the Green Belt, which accounts for one third of the Borough.

“We understand residents’ concerns around the allocation of land for housing in the Green Belt and we continue to prioritise and actively promote the development of brownfield sites first.”

A report on the next steps for the plan is now due to be debated at a meeting of the council’s ruling cabinet.

A previous draft of the policy, which went out for public consultation in August 2019, had suggested South Shields and Boldon would bear the brunt of future development.

A new model for assessing possible sites due to be put to bosses next week is expected to continue the focus on ‘sustainable urban area growth’ and ‘Green Belt site releases of varying sizes’.

But it will also add the prospect of ‘large scale Green Belt release’ as well.

About a third of the borough is designated Green Belt, such as Cleadon Hills and Boldon Downhill, where development is restricted.

Planners have attempted to make the most of ‘brownfield’ sites which have previously been developed, with Cllr Anglin praising proposals for the Holborn Riverside area of South Shields as a ‘great example of us trying to open up brownfield and previously contaminated land’.

But even this has courted controversy, with families in the area campaigning against the potential loss of a popular park as part of the development.

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.