Green Party leader heads to Sunderland to hear residents’ fears over 3,000 new homes

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, will meet residents in Sunderland this week.
Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, will meet residents in Sunderland this week.
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A politicial leader will visit Sunderland this week to meet residents concerned about a new housing plan in their neighbourhood.

Natalie Bennett, who heads the Green Party, will head to Burdon Lane, Ryhope, on Friday morning to talk to families about their concerns over development on the site.

Land between Burdon Road and Nettle Lane, Ryhope, which has been earmarked for housing development. Green Party leader Natalie Bennett is set to meet residents on the site next week.

Land between Burdon Road and Nettle Lane, Ryhope, which has been earmarked for housing development. Green Party leader Natalie Bennett is set to meet residents on the site next week.

It is one of four areas earmarked by Sunderland City Council for a new estate as it looks to create 3,000 new homes in the city to meet the demand for large executive homes and stop graduates and families from moving to neighbouring areas.

The former Cherry Knowle Hospital site, a space in south Ryhope and an area in Chapelgarth have also been listed for housing.

Local members of the Green Party say they are concerned the Burdon Lane site is in a settlement break area, set aside to ensure the Doxford Park, Ryhope and Tunstall communities do not merge.

However, Sunderland City Council has said in consultation papers that a space will be left.

This is not the kind of housing we need and this is not where it should be located.

Rachel Featherstone, Green Party

The party also says it disputes the council’s statement that there is a demand for such housing, as it says the city population is third fastest falling in the country and there is little call for demand for such homes.

Members have also raised concerns about the suitability of the site and say that in recent weeks, parts of the proposed site, which is owned by a consortium set up to build houses, have been flooded.

Rachel Featherstone, the the Green Party’s candidate for the Doxford Ward, said: “This is not the kind of housing we need and this is not where it should be located.

“There are brown field sites available as well as empty land where estates have been demolished.

“They should be the priority for development and we should be building good quality, affordable homes for ordinary people and families.

“The city council have got this the wrong way round - they’re building houses for people they have yet to attract.

“We need to develop our city centre, build employment opportunities and focus on making this a better place to live for existing residents. Only then can we attract new residents.’

“These green spaces are an asset to the city and really valued by local residents.

“The Burdon Lane development will benefit no one but the developers.”

The party has said campaign group Keep Burdon Green has expressed its concerns about additional traffic on the roads and increased demand on services that are already stretched.