Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Free-for-All Fears over Building on Green Belt

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Free-for-All Fears over Building on Green Belt

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson Regional affairs correspondent Adrian.Pearson@ncjmedia.co.uk

GREEN belt building plans by councils across the North East are at risk of creating a freefor-all as developers benet from a lack of joined up thinking, an inquiry has heard.

Plans for around 30,000 new homes went before a Government inspector at Gateshead civic centre yesterday as opponents from across Tyneside lined up to have their say.

Planning inspector Martin Pike heard concerns that the seven North East councils are putting together their own plans without due regard to what their neighbouring authorities are doing.

Residents and local interest groups went up against council directors, planning specialist and legal experts as Newcastle and Gateshead sought to convince the inspector that their joint homes plan is legally sound.

Ocials from both councils said they had a duty to co-operate with other regional council "but not a duty to agree".

Legal arguments yesterday morning saw the inspector hear that a memorandum of understanding agreed by the seven North East councils had no real worth to it as one council, Sunderland, had dragged its heals and only just signed up on the day of the planning inquiry.

Another example of the region's fractured planning relationship came when one opponent told the inspeclets when one opponent told the inspector that the boundary between Northumberland and Newcastle was a key example of a failure to co-operate.

e inspector heard that as well as plans for thousands of new homes on green belt land in Newcastle's outer west, there was also plans for many more developments in land around Ponteland currently the subject of Northumberland County Council's own growth plans.

e inspector also heard repeated claims that the two councils had failed to properly consult, with opponents pointing to council publicity material that gave more attention to new gritting devices than to plans to transform the green belt, and of leaf-leaf that never arrived at some homes. …

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