England football star Jordan Henderson has welcomed news that plans to build on part of Sunderland’s Green Belt have been dropped.
The Liverpool midfielder took time out from preparations for this weekend’s Champions League final clash with Real Madrid in Kiev to celebrate a Sunderland City Council decision to leave West Park in East Herrington off a list of potential housing sites in its draft Core Strategy and Development Plan.
The plan, which underwent public consultation, looks at jobs, business growth, transport links and housing needs in the city until 2033.
More than 5,000 people had their say on-line and at a series of consultation events across the city last year, and their views have resulted in a number of changes to the final draft, which goes to the council’s Cabinet committee at the end of May.
Jordan Henderson grew up in the area, attended Farringdon School and honed his skills in West Park as a youngster, playing football with his friends.
He sent a message to campaigners who have been fighting to save the park: “I think it’s fantastic that you have achieved your goal in saving this wonderful green space as losing it would have changed the face of my old home village forever,” he said.
I think it’s fantastic that you have achieved your goal in saving this wonderful green space as losing it would have changed the face of my old home village forever.Jordan Henderson
“Now I hope everyone looks after it and utilises it in the future.
“I’ll always love it.”
On a recent visit home to see his family, he was taken aback by the number of signs lining the A690 objecting to the proposals.
Mum Liz said: “Jordan said to me that he thought it was brilliant to see the obvious strength of feeling in the community to save the park that he has so many happy memories of playing ‘footy’ in with his friends, and where he developed his early footballing skills.”
“Jordan also noticed when he came home that the goals were still up in West Park, with kids playing football, and this really delighted him.”
Park campaigner Tom Lynn said: “Everyone in Herrington, and especially those who have campaigned relentlessly to save West Park, thank Jordan for supporting our campaign from the outset and we all wish him well in Kiev on Saturday and are dreaming of seeing a ‘Herra’ lad holding the World Cup aloft this July.
“Haway the lad!”.
The Local Plan will be the starting point for determining planning applications and set a strategy for bringing land forward to develop.