Campaigners and councillors against greenbelt homes plan near Penshaw Monument
Campaigners fighting plans that could see hundreds of homes built near Penshaw Monument used a council information event to share their concerns with families in the area.
Up to 400 homes could be built on undeveloped land near the monument under latest version of Core Strategy and Development Plan for Sunderland.
Planning officers from Sunderland City Council were at Barnwell Academy, in Whitefield Estate, Houghton le Spring, on Tuesday (July 17) to offer help and advice on the latest stage of the plan, which is currently out for public consultation.
And in the room next door, members of the Save Penshaw Greenbelt group were on hand to encourage those attending to make their views known before it’s too late.
Claire Foster, one of the group’s founders, said: “We were concerned that there’s a lot of information and it would put people off having their say, but actually the responses have been that they’re all willing to take time out to do that.
“I think frustration has come from not being provided with a more easily accessible way to have their voices heard.”
The Core Strategy and Development Plan, also known as the local plan, is supposed to set planning policy in the city until 2033.
If approved, it could pave the way for more than 13,000 new homes.
According to the council, 95 per cent of development would be in ‘existing urban areas or on brownfield sites, with minimum impact on greenbelt land’.
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However, as well as campaigners, the proposals for Penshaw have also prompted opposition from members of the council itself.
As well as disagreeing with plans to build at Penshaw, Coun Geoff Walker also said he wanted to see more done about bringing up to 3,000 empty homes in the Sunderland back into use.
He said: “There seems to be enough objection in this area to make a case for it to be withdrawn from the plan.”
He added: “There’s genuine interest in the local plan and people don’t want to see the locality changed, people feel it would spoil the area if they built around it.”
Consultation on the local plan is due to end on July 27.
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service