Mums have formed a campaign group to keep their village ‘green’ after the council proposed potential locations for new housing developments.
The group ‘Keep Boldon Green’ was formed three weeks ago after South Tyneside Council sent out leaflets on its Strategic Land Review, which will help inform its new Local Plan and determine the borough’s development over the next 20 years.
However friends Jayne Mackie, Clare Newton, Jillian Duncan and Rosalind Hughes, all from Victoria Terrace, were shocked to learn that up to 1700 new homes could be built on the green spaces around East Boldon.
The areas suggested include land at North Farm, off Boker Lane, land near South Lane, the former MoD bunkers at Green Lane, land next to the Metro line at Boldon Flats, plus many others.
Last Wednesday they held a meeting at the Grey Horse pub in Front Street, which had to be relocated to the nearby United Reform Church when 280 residents turned up.
Rosalind said: “We were absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people that turned out.
Most have only just found out about these potential plans.Rosalind Hughes
“Most of us have only just found out about these potential plans when a leaflet, which was nothing out of the ordinary was shoved through our doors.
“However, since it looked just like junk mail many simply didn’t realise its importance.”
The group asked for the consultation period to be extended so more residents could have their say and it now ends in July.
Members believes the creation of the new homes would change the village forever.
Jillian said: “This development would change East Boldon forever. We need a far more serious and respectful effort from the council to invite and actually listen to residents’ views.
“There are many concerns, as the amazing turnout on Wednesday night illustrates. We need answers around hugely increased traffic and overcrowded schools that this development would bring about.
“Front Street, The main road running through East Boldon is already congested which has a detrimental effect on the air we and our children are breathing.
“There are also other environmental considerations – the risk of flooding and the loss of vital biodiversity from our beautiful fields being two of them.
“So we are heartened that our campaign has made our Councillors sit up and take note of public opinion and forced an extension to the consultation.”
The group is hosting a second meeting tomorrow night at East Boldon Junior School in North Lane from 5pm to 7pm.
Coun Allan West, lead member for housing and transport, said: “We know there are specific concerns in the Boldon area. We have extended the consultation period by a month and have arranged additional consultation events.
“We also plan to hold focus groups for residents who have expressed an interest in discussing the plans in more detail.
“Officers have assessed over 300 potential sites across the borough as part of this process but no decisions have been made at this stage. The Strategic Land Review does not allocate sites for development and the inclusion of a site in the study does not necessarily mean it will end up being allocated.
“Developing the Local Plan is a collaborative process and we are keen for local people to have an input. Residents’ and businesses’ feedback will be used to help refine our site assessments. We’ve had a good response so far and encourage people to share their views. We will continue to consult local people throughout the development of the Local Plan.”