Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Council Planning to Use Green Belt Land for Housing

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Council Planning to Use Green Belt Land for Housing

Article excerpt

Byline: Sean Seddon Reporter sean.seddon@trinitymirror.com

SUNDERLAND City Council is planning a raid on the green belt in order to open up space for more than 1,500 new homes.

Green belt land, which is protected from development to prevent urban sprawl, can be a highly-controversial issue.

Environmentalists argue that it protects the countryside, while housing developers say it restricts building and pushes up house prices.

A report due to be voted on by the council's cabinet on Wednesday has identified 15 sites covering an area of 104.8 hectares, setting up a potential clash between the local authority and residents who will see their towns altered significantly.

The report says that the council tried to find space "within the built-up area of the city" but that it wasn't possible to identify enough land.

Council officers then moved on to trying to "identify land to accommodate a minimum of 1,500 new homes in the green belt". Although the proposals represent just 3% of the area's green belt land, the number of homes which could now be built on the sites is 1,548.

Washington is particularly hard hit by the proposed green belt deletions, as well as Penshaw and Springwell Village. The most significant proposed development is for land adjacent to Herrington Country Park in Penshaw, where 400 houses could be built.

Overlooked by Penshaw Monument, the park is one of Sunderland's most scenic spots and was recently awarded a national Green Flag Award - but these plans could see a major housing development built right next to it.

Residents of Springwell Village have long campaigned against development on the area's rural fringes but the scenic enclave could be altered with the construction of 88 homes.

Angela Templeman, chair of the Springwell Village Residents' Association, said: "Residents are angry and upset at the council's proposals to put forward three greenbelt sites for housing - if they go ahead this will change the whole character of the village that we have fought so hard to protect. …

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