Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Homes Bid Is Dropped after Row; People Living near Former School Site Staged Big Protest

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Homes Bid Is Dropped after Row; People Living near Former School Site Staged Big Protest

Article excerpt

Byline: Amy Hunt

HOUSING bosses have staged a U-turn on a controversial development after residents claimed their views on the future of a former school site had been ignored. Council chiefs in Newcastle included the former Parkway special school in Westerhope on a list of potential housing sites.

But they backed down when faced with massive opposition from those living near the site, who said people had already told the council they did not want houses there.

At a meeting of the city council, residents and ward councillors handed in a 500-signature petition opposing the plans.

And ruling Liberal Democrats agreed the site should be taken off a list of potential locations for new so-called "social" housing.

Today Ernie Shorton, of the Chapel Park Residents Association, who handed in the petition, said: "This is fantastic, an unprecedented move. I'm pleased the council has come to its senses.

"In Newcastle we have a history of doing consultations after the event rather than before. Finally the people's voices have been heard."

Mr Shorton said he planned to stand as a candidate to become a councillor for Denton ward on the back of the victory and thanked local people for their support.

The row started in December when the city council and Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) announced plans to build 400 new properties on seven sites across the city to ease social housing waiting lists and provide affordable homes for private sale.

The Parkway site was one of those included on a schedule of potential housing locations, with up to 80 bungalows proposed. Councillors said the list was only the start of a consultation and that all local people would be asked for their views.

But residents pointed to a survey of 4,000 households, in which only 14% of locals said they wanted to see houses built on the site, with most preferring a new school or park.

Now the Lib Dem executive, which approved the housing site schedule, will be recommended to back down on the Parkway site. …

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