A COMMUNITY group is making a stand against plans to build housing on green land.
The area between Ryhope and the A19 was once dubbed ‘The Lungs of the City’.
Now council bosses are proposing to use it to develop housing, as part of a plan to build 15,000 new homes in the next two decades.
But members of the Keep Burdon Green community group think the council should leave the site alone.
Group founder Barbara King said: “We initially were concerned at a proposal by Bellway to build on green fields between Burdon Village and Sunderland.
“Following a request for information and a meeting with councillors and planners, we discovered the council already has documents showing its intention to allow development of a large tract of land previously protected as settlement break.
“Representatives from Bellway have also confirmed the application has been submitted.
“We stress we are aware the city needs to develop, but the council should focus on the other available sites throughout the city.
“Greenfield sites should be the last to be developed, and even then only if that is required because of a proven demand.”
The land between Ryhope, Tunstall Village, Doxford Park and estates at Burdon Lane lies between housing estates.
City Council cabinet secretary Coun Mel Speding said: “The Government has outlined a national commitment to building new homes and, like all local authorities, we are required by law to have plans in place which meet long-term development needs.
“Based on information available from research on housing need and market demand for different types of properties, 15,000 new homes will have to be built within the city over the next 20 years.
“How we hope to achieve this is outlined in the city’s Core Strategy, which is being considered by council before it goes out to public consultation in May.
“Over this six-week consultation period, we want to work with people to see how these needs can best be met.
“Residents and businesses will have the opportunity to share views and concerns on the proposals before the final strategy is presented to an independent planning inspector for final consideration.
“Re-using brownfield land has, and continues to remain, a priority for the city council. Over the past few years, more than 95 per cent of new homes have been completed on these kinds of sites.
“However, it is a fact that there is only a limited amount of brownfield land which is not sufficient to meet all our growth needs, and not all of it is available at this moment in time.
“We will need to develop sustainable greenfield sites in the short and long term.”