NEIGHBOURS have hit out at a developer’s plans to create a new cycleway near their homes.
David Lemon was shocked to learn that 25 square foot of land next to his back garden in Hall Farm is to be made into a pedestrian and cycle access.
The moves comes as part of plans by property developer Bellway Homes to build luxury housing on the land at Burdon Lane, situated between Ryhope and the A19.
Father-of-three Mr Lemon, 71, took over the land under an allotment agreement licence from Bellway, which owns the land, in 2005.
However, the firm say it has given Mr Lemon three months’ notice that the licence was being terminated, as they were required to do under planning laws.
Once a hot-spot for antisocial behaviour, the grandfather-of-five says he has turned the land into an oasis for his family and neighbours to enjoy.
Under the plans, a two-foot-wide path is set to be turned into an access route to the new estate. “It is absolutely abysmal finding out about this,” he said.
“I found out about it from my neighbour, who saw something about it online – I don’t use the internet, so I would never have known unless she told me.
“Everyone was going along nicely then all of a sudden everything has been turned upside down.”
Mr Lemon, who spent hundreds of pounds and countless hours transforming the land into a garden, continued: “It was horrendous here at one time.
“Since 2005 it’s been like heaven.
“All the neighbours still say how peaceful it is and are saying ‘why do people want to disrupt it now’?”
Mr Lemon, wife Joan, 67, and neighbours Audrey and Robert Newton, 78, who live on the opposite side of the garden, are worried about vandals returning and young people intent on antisocial behaviour if the plans go ahead.
Grandmother-of-seven Mrs Newton said: “They used to throw bricks at the window and big clots of mud thrown into the bathroom window.
“We came back from holiday and there was mud all over the bathroom.”
The Bellway Homes development is part of a plan to build 15,000 homes in Sunderland over the next 20 years.
A spokeswoman for Bellway said: “Bellway have full title to the land in question, with Mr Lemon allowed to occupy the land under a licence granted in 2005.
“This licence is terminable on either party giving the other party three months’ notice.
“We have followed this process, and at the request of the council, we are putting in a cycle and pedestrian path only, which will benefit the immediate community.”