'˜Ghost town' fears: Green Party leader Natalie Bennett wades in over housing row

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has urged council chiefs to reconsider a new housing plan for Sunderland.

Saturday, 30th January 2016, 11:45 am
Updated Saturday, 30th January 2016, 11:49 am
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, front centre, met with residents on Friday.

On a visit to the city yesterday, she met residents of Weymouth Road, Chapelgarth, next to land which has been earmarked for housing development.

It is one of four areas identified by the city council for a new estate, as it looks to create about 3,000 new homes in the city.

The housing is intended to meet demand for large executive homes.

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Ms Bennett, though, feels the area could become a “ghost town”.

She said: “This is not the kind of housing that Sunderland needs. The council is at risk of creating ghost towns.

“From speaking to the residents, it is also clear that they are concerned about potential traffic problems it would create, as they feel it is already bad enough as it is.

“This is the kind of green space that needs to be preserved. The council should listen to the local residents and cancel these plans.”

The area is one of four earmarked by the council for new housing, as well as the former Cherry Knowle Hospital site, a space in south Ryhope and land between Burdon Road and Nettle Lane, Ryhope.

One of the residents who met Ms Bennett said: “This is a wonderful piece of land and it would be a great shame to lose it to housing.”

Siglion, the development company working with the council on the sites, is holding a public exhibition about the proposed Chapelgarth scheme between 10am and 4pm today at the Box Youth Project, on Hall Farm Road.

Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Secretary, Councillor Mel Speding, said: “We all want to see our city grow and prosper, and following Cabinet approval earlier this month, the council will be consulting on the South Sunderland Growth Area.

“This area is not classed as green belt and the council is always open to developers who wish to develop brownfield sites.”