Sunderland enters row over green belt homes plan

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THREE councils are at loggerheads over plans to develop areas of countryside to build new houses.

Newcastle and Gateshead Councils, as part of their One Core Strategy, are planning the future of their housing developments.

But they have come up against resistance from Sunderland City Council as one of their proposed sites is close to the Leam Lane estate, which is in a section of green belt.

As a result, they have placed a holding objection to the plans as it would be a “significant intrusion on to land that has been protected as green belt for over 25 years”.

It is now up to Newcastle and Gateshead as to whether they adapt their plans or try and push ahead with them.

Gateshead Council director of development and enterprise Paul Dowling said: “I think people recognise that we need to build more homes providing greater quality and choice for the number of people who want to live and work in the North East.

“It is never going to be simple and, whilst our preference will always be for ‘brownfield’ developments, such as around MetroCentre, we have to consider all options.

“We are committed to co-operating with Sunderland and our other neighbouring authorities in order to help realise all of our aspirations and discussions will continue as all our plans progress.

“Although the formal consultation has now closed, there will be further consultation as the strategy develops, and all comments received will be taken on board.”

Councillor Bryan Charlton, portfolio holder for prosperous city, Sunderland City Council said: “This proposal is not a formal planning application, rather it is considering the principle of the longer-term development of a number of sites, which includes the 40-hectare site at Leam Lane.

“We have submitted a holding objection, raising concerns that development of this site could comprise a significant intrusion into the Tyne and Wear green belt.

“Our officers are proactively involved in ongoing discussions with officers from both Newcastle and Gateshead Councils, and we will provide a more informed response to the principle of development of the site once Gateshead has undertaken a review of its long term housing targets.”

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