Countryside charity praises Northern Spire housing development

A countryside protection charity has welcomed plans to build more than 1,000 new homes next to the Northern Spire bridge.

Saturday, 29th August 2020, 5:56 pm

The North East branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says the development around the site of the region’s newest river crossing should reduce some of the pressure to build over the city’s rural landscape.

In July it was announced that brownfield land on the south side of Sunderland’s iconic Wear crossing, will be transformed into a new affordable housing development called Northern Spire Park.

Sunderland City Council revealed its plans for the area, which it has taken into its control after the former landowner’s vision for housing on the site stalled.

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The Campaign to Protect Rural England has praised the planned housing development to the south of the Northern Spire. Picture by Frank Reid.

Infrastructure works will be carried out in the area to prepare the ground for the development, which is likely to follow over the next 12 to 18 months.

Chair of CPRE North East, Richard Cowen, says the urban regeneration being planned around the Northern Spire is exactly the type of development the charity encourages.

He said: “We welcome this scheme because it will be good for the city and the community of Sunderland, but also potentially the surrounding countryside which all too often is the first choice of developers when it should be the last.

“These houses will have a riverside setting next to a hugely iconic bridge and will bring new life back to this part of the city.

“But they will also reduce pressure on the countryside because they will absorb much of the need for further housing development in the city.

“Local authorities have to have housing targets in terms of the number they will build over the long term and across the country we have seen that has seen all too often the countryside being targeted.

“Instead of concentrating on urban regeneration and brownfield sites, too many developers target green belt land and greenfield sites intent on making the biggest possible profits.

“Developments like this one at the Northern Spire should help to get the balance right, in terms of creating affordable houses which breathe new life into the city while preserving the countryside next door for them to enjoy.”

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