'We have listened to the people' - say councillors after twist in Sunderland green belt homes plan

Moves to prevent hundreds of homes from being built on green belt land have been welcomed.

By Gavin Ledwith
Wednesday, 24 July, 2019, 11:45
Labour councillor Rebecca Atkinson.

Sunderland City Council had pinpointed three sites for 370 properties as part of its local plan for the city up until 2033.

It is now expected that the council will continue formulating its local plan – aimed at bringing 13,000 homes and 7,000 jobs to the city – without the green belt proposals.

The authority's ruling Labour group says its members have welcomed the inspector’s newly published report.

The party's cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Coun Rebecca Atkinson, said: “When we developed these proposals, we didn’t hold back the scale of our ambition, but we were also acutely aware that we could and would not successfully deliver every single project without the full support of residents and communities.

“In May, we welcomed the examination by the planning inspector and today we welcome his findings.

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“It is another case of ‘the people asked and Labour listened’.

“Like them, we had concerns about development in some areas. But we felt it was only right to include them in the draft core strategy and let everyone air their views during the examination.”

“We agreed with the vast majority of concerns raised and, as such, we are in favour of their removal from the document, which now moves another step closer to being formally adopted as the blueprint for development across Sunderland, delivering homes, jobs, services and leisure facilities to improve the lives of people in the city and coalfield communities.”

Two hundred homes were initially planned for Rickleton, 110 at North Hylton and 60 at East Springwell, close to Washington’s border with Gateshead.

The council had already agreed to remove controversial housing plans for West Park, in East Herrington, before inspector Mark Dakeyne held a three-week public consultation into the draft proposals in May.

Details of a further round of public consultation over the amended blueprint are expected to be announced soon.