RESIDENTS of a Wearside town have just one day left to have their say on the environmental impact of plans to build hundreds of homes.
Scores of people slammed proposals at a packed meeting as they gathered for a debate about a new development North Road, Hetton, where 300 houses could be built.
Developers are looking to build the multi-million pound executive housing area, but those living near the area have expressed fears over traffic and drainage problems, as well as the impact it might have on wildlife.
Planning consultants Turley Associates claim new homes are essential to develop the area and the work would create more than 1,600 jobs.
They also say wildlife would benefit from the scheme.
No one from the Environment Agency was able to attend the public meeting at the Hetton Centre.
Pat Robson, of Save Our Countryside Committee, which opposes the plans, said the group is not opposed to houses being built in Hetton, but the North Road location is unsuitable.
“There are too many issues which will have a growth impact,” she said. “We also know there are areas which need housing, but this is not one of them. This is a Site of Special Interest, one of only two such types in the region.
“There are quite a few people concerned with the flood risk and the sewage risk in the area.
“There are quite a few species down there; great crested newts, water vole, grey partridges, bats and roe deer which are rarely seen, but they’re there.”
Objectors said they will respond to an environmental impact assessment handed to Sunderland City Council by tomorrow.
A spokesman for Turley said the development proceeds will “greatly enhance biodiversity in the area, providing new habitats for protected and important species”.
He added: “The houses will generate new traffic, but junction assessments suggest there will not be a material impact on the performance of existing junctions or roads in the vicinity of the site.
“A new site access roundabout will be provided to help slow vehicle speeds on North Road.”
Turley also say the 300 “executive” homes planned for North Road could take up to three years to build.
A spokeswoman for the firm said: “This application represents a unique opportunity to deliver a more diverse mix of houses in the coalfield area of Sunderland city.”
The Broomhill area of Hetton is subject to an application for almost 230 new homes, while more than 600 dwellings could be built in Philadelphia, near Newbottle.