Gateshead – April 24th – Today Stephen Watson, Green Party candidate for the Wardley and Leam Lane council seat, delivered a petition with more than 300 signatures from concerned local residents to the Gateshead Council Planning Department. The petition opposes the development of greenbelt land in the Leam Lane area for housing. Stephen Watson commented “Local people have had little chance to feedback on the Council’s plans. By taking it to peoples’ doorsteps we have allowed residents to see the extent of the clearly unwanted plans. ”
The Gateshead Green Party believes that the Council under the guidance of its Labour leadership has avoided getting feedback from local residents because it fears a backlash against its “strategic” plans. Stephen Watson commented “I am amazed at what Labour has NOT done in Gateshead. In Newcastle 115,000 homes were contacted directly about the planned changes to which areas of the city were being proposed as available for new homes – Gateshead council handed out a few leaflets in the Metrocentre and the town centre. No wonder they only received seven complaints. We have taken the information of which bits of greenbelt are being torn up on to the doorsteps of those directly affected and have received more 300 complaints – each of which will now need to be dealt with by the planning department”.
The lack of transparency on the issue has been stark. The local Labour party has continued to say that the permission is for outline approval only with little likelihood of any building work taking place. Yet this contradicts the consultation documentation which states “Leam Lane has an estimated capacity of 1201 new dwellings.” and “The phasing of this site is set to begin at the earliest possible time, (around 2014/15), because there are no significant constraints to development.” Stephen Watson said “Diggers will be ploughing up the green fields of Leam Lane with two years despite these hollow reassurances. These changes are turning our local fields into a goldmine for developers and it is local people who are set to lose out”.
For more information about the Green Party’s region wide campaign to prevent green belt land being turned into a goldmine for local developers please contact David Byrne (0191 442 1542), Green Party co-ordinator in Gateshead or Nic Best (0787 889 6292 ), press officer for the Green Party in the North East of England.
Promoted by David Byrne on behalf of the Green Party, both of 18 Coleridge Avenue, Gateshead NE9 6EL.