Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Greenbelt Action Group to Stage Silent Protest

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Greenbelt Action Group to Stage Silent Protest

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel North Northumberland reporter

RESIDENTS fighting a massive housing plan on green belt land in Northumberland are today to stage a protest. Tyneside-based Lugano has applied for planning permission to build 280 homes at Birney Hill, in the green belt around Ponteland and Darras Hall.

The project is a PS96m development which it says will create 672 construction jobs and a further 228 in the region.

A total of 4,300 objections have been lodged with Northumberland County Council.

Members of its planning committee will today stage a site visit prior to determining the application, with a public meeting lined up this Wednesday.

And the Ponteland Greenbelt Group has organised for its members, and the general public, to attend the site visit to show councillors the strength of feeling. The group will be displaying banners and placards at the site visit, which is expected to take place at around 12.15pm.

A group spokeswoman last night said: "It is a silent presence.

"Obviously we understand that we can not have conversation or anything but it is a way of showing them that we still feel the way as we did before.

"Considering there was 4,300 objections, it is quite significant.

"If you take the population of Ponteland of 11,000, that is an astronomical percentage return.

"We are not militant, we are exercising a democratic right that we have to express our feelings.

"We do not have to do it in an explosive manner. You can do it in a quiet manner.

"We need in a respectful manner to let those councillors who are on the planning committee know the depth of feeling."

The public meeting, organised by the county council, takes place at Ponteland High School at 6pm.

The spokesman said the group is seeking to establish numbers likely to attend on behalf of the authority, with 150 confirmed by Saturday morning but that number is expected to exceed 200.

It is also accepting questions which it will pass them to the council to arrange for suitable answer to be given at the meeting. …

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