Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ponteland Fire Station Plans Given Green Light

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ponteland Fire Station Plans Given Green Light

Article excerpt

Byline: BEN O'CONNELL Local democracy reporter

COUNCILLORS have given the green light to a new fire station in Ponteland despite concerns and objections about its location in the green belt.

The new facility, on land west of Ponteland High School, off Callerton Lane, was unanimously approved at a meeting of Northumberland County Council's strategic planning committee this week.

The site would feature a single-storey, seven-metre-high fire station, a 14-metre-high training tower, a training yard and 13 parking bays.

It is located approximately 340 metres south of the existing fire station which is to be demolished, freeing up land for the town's major new school and leisure development.

The new facility would be within the North Tyneside Green Belt, originally designated in 1963, but planning officers had recommended approval due to the "very special circumstances" demonstrated by the emergency service. The majority of Ponteland's retained firefighters are able to reach the current fire station just up the road in under five minutes, so "the new location is essential to maintain the existing high standards of response times".

Addressing members' concerns, the council's new head of planning Rob Murfin explained fire stations were a special case and if this site ceased to be used for that purpose it would revert to green belt and any application would be determined in that light.

John Haig of Ponteland Civic Society addressed the meeting to express concerns about the green belt and the impact on what is a designated "green approach" to the town.

He said: "It would inflict serious damage on the existing landscape scene. "It has to be located elsewhere, it has to be put in another location."

He also raised concerns about the loss of trees at the site, disagreeing with the tree officer's assessment it would not result in a loss of amenity and adding it was bizarre to try to justify their felling by saying they are not native species "as though they are illegal immigrants of the tree world". …

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