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Watch deer living on site given green light for housing development

Residents living near the site earmarked for a major housing development are urging the council chiefs and developers to reconsider the decision to give it the green light after footage has emerged showing the wildlife living in the area.

Last month a planning application by Gentoo Homes to build 30 homes in Bill Quay on land next to Gullane Close and Marian Drive was approved by planning officials at Gateshead Council.

Deer have been spotted in the field set for a housing development in Bill Quay.

Deer have been spotted in the field set for a housing development in Bill Quay.

The news came as a blow for residents who had lobbied against the plans on the grounds of environmental and access issues.

Plans for the site – which lies close to the boundary of South Tyneside – had also been opposed by South Tyneside Council.

Now video footage captured by residents and shared on the Bill Quay Residents Information Facebook page has shown deer in the field where houses would be built.

A resident who took the video said she had known that deer and other wildlife live in the area and had taken videos of them running through the field both morning and night.

Bill Quay residents protesting against the housing development.

Bill Quay residents protesting against the housing development.

Judith Hudson, from Marian Drive, campaigned against the development and said losing the wildlife corridor would be a huge loss to residents and the community.

Urging the planning bosses to think again on their decision in light of the video evidence, she said: “It will be a big loss to the community and will have a detrimental effect on wellbeing.

“There are people who walk along the river, people who watch the birds, and there are some residents who have lived here for 55 years and tending to the land is part of their life.

“This type of thing is throwing it to the roadside and I urge the council and Gentoo Homes to think again. Just because they have made one or two visits to the field doesn’t mean that they have a good understanding of the environment.”

Anthony Lowther, managing director of Gentoo Homes, said: “We commissioned an independent ecologist to carry out their own investigation into the site.

“Part of this involved deploying cameras with sensors to six locations so that wildlife activity could be monitored and recorded.

“The cameras were triggered by wildlife on one single occasion over a period of 217 consecutive days, capturing a fox moving through the site.

“The monitoring of wildlife over this period highlighted the site was not being used as a habitat.

“Our proposals have been heavily scrutinised by various Gateshead Council officers, including Highways, Ecology and Planning and as a result, the application was approved.”

Gateshead Council wished to make no comment.