Residents group slams council over future homes plan for Sunderland
Residents concerned about the prospect of hundreds of new homes being built in their community say that council chiefs have not given their views as much consideration as they should have.
For the last few years Springwell Residents Association have looked to fight plans to create new estates in Springwell Village, arguing that the area is too small for a big increase in houses.
The residents say they were angered by comments from the deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Michael Mordey, last month that the authority is a “listening council” concerning plans to build 13,410 homes in the city by 2033.
The council however has hit back saying it “has listened” and reduced the number of possible greenbelt sites earmarked for development in its new local plan for future housing from 15 to 11.
The residents association argue that it submitted over 1,340 separate objections to the council’s Core Strategy and Development Plan - representing around 25% of the responses from the whole of the borough, and a petition signed by 1,600 people.
They also argued that the meetings which were put on for the benefit of residents were “drop-in” events instead.
Liz Reid, of the group, said: “We feel the council had not looked at the collective impact it could have if all three housing applications were to be approved.
“It’s very important for Springwell Village to have greenbelt around it.
“We are not Nimbys (Not In My Back Yard). We’ve had houses built here recently and they were needed.
“But what we don’t need is three and four-bedroom houses that cost hundreds and thousands of pounds which developers make a lot of money from and leave us with gridlocked roads, poor air quality, destruction of wildlife.
“There are only 1,000 houses in the village and if all of this goes ahead there will be another 570.”
In response to the comments, Coun Mordey said: “As part of the draft plan consultation last year, the council held meetings in August and September at Springwell Village Hall.
“More than 120 people attended these meetings and a petition with more than 1,300 signatures was received during the consultation.
“This was all part of one of the biggest consultation exercises ever carried out by the council with over 30 local meetings giving people an opportunity to have their say.
“The council is very grateful to everyone who responded and gave their views, and it has taken on board responses and amended the plan to addresses many concerns.
“The council has listened and reduced the number of greenbelt sites in the plan from 15 to 11, including parts of Springwell and only 3% of the city’s green belt could be facing changes.
“Wherever possible, the council attempted to answer questions on future development.
“In receiving and examining all the representations, the council has to look at and focus on planning matters and national planning guidelines.
“In moving to the next draft of the plan, the council has looked at where housing could be built with the least impact and nine-out-of-ten (90 %) could be in existing communities.
“However, the council also has a duty to look to the future and prepare the city for growth and development and prepare our city for delivering more than 13,410 new homes over the next 18 years.”
The next round of consultation is now underway and more details are available at www.sunderland.gov.uk/csdp.