Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Campaign to Block Homes Being Built; Society Fears for Wildlife If Plan Is Agreed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Campaign to Block Homes Being Built; Society Fears for Wildlife If Plan Is Agreed

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson

ACAMPAIGN has been launched to block the building of up to 600 homes on land next to one of the North East's most important nature reserves.

The 150-acre Gosforth Park nature reserve in Newcastle is run by the Natural History Society of Northumbria. It is the last urban reserve for red squirrels in England.

But the society says that the identification by Newcastle City Council of green belt land off Salters Lane for housing will have "catastrophic" consequences for the reserve.

The proposal is part of the One Core Strategy being developed by Newcastle and Gateshead councils to guide development to 2030.

Society director James Littlewood said that building on the fields next to the nature reserve would: ? deprive wildlife of foraging and expansion areas; ? isolate the reserve by damaging the wildlife corridor which connects it to both Jesmond Dene and Cramlington and the outer countryside; ? mean extra pressure on the reserve from 600 households, many of which would have dogs and cats.

He said: "A massive site with 600 houses is proposed that would destroy wildlife in Gosforth."

A protest group has been set up including residents, the society and Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

The society is leafleting 2,000 homes and will stage a protest "walkabout" on the reserve on October 30 at 11am.

A public meeting has also been called at Gosforth Civic hall at 7pm on November 15. City planners have been invited. Mr Littlewood said: "This area is so valuable for wildlife that 10 years ago Newcastle Council designated it as a strategic wildlife corridor.

"These proposals would have a devastating effect on wildlife and the nature reserve. The reserve is one of Newcastle's last remaining wildlife areas and is home to rare birds, plants and animals.

"The fields that would be destroyed provide essential foraging habitat for wildlife in the reserve.

"Without this habitat this wildlife will be lost forever. …

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