Archive for April, 2012
The 26th of April saw a candidate’s Hustings organised by the Newcastle West Greenbelt Protection Campaign.
About one hundred people attended, and listened to 7 candidates from the Wards affected by the One Core Strategy.
All candidates had been invited but no Labour candidates agreed – surprise! No doubt they did not relish having to defend their position. Three Liberals, one Conservative, one Newcastle First, Idwal our STOP candidate and one other Independent formed the Panel.
Each candidate gave a two minute address, followed by questions. The results next Thursday could prove interesting as only 7 seats on the Council need to change hands for Labour to lose overall power.
Mark Donnely, the independent councillor for Westerhope ward, also spoke at the hustings. Mark has been a stalwart of the campaign against the council’s proposals and made some fine contributions in the debate.
Mark is up for re-election and has the full support of the S.T.O.P campaign. So if you are in the Westerhope, ward please vote for him.
Idwal’s election campaign has began in earnest, with visits to several local community events having taken place already, and more planned for the days ahead.
The photograph below, taken on the 23rd April, shows Idwal chatting to some of the local residents who attend sequence dancing in the church hall of St Michael and all Angels at Newburn.
On Saturday the 21st Idwal also attended the coffee morning at the same venue and discussed issues arising from the One Core strategy with the regulars there.
[click image to enlarge]
At the younger end of the local age groups, Idwal will be joining Anne Whittaker at the entrance to Throckley first School on Wednesday from 3pm, Anne has been involved with some of the mothers in starting a petition which deplores the potential loss of the playing field, and they will urge the mothers (and fathers) who are collecting their children to sign this.
Thursday the 26th is the date of the hustings organised by the Newcastle West green Belt protection Campaign, to be held at the Weatsheaf – like the other invited candidates, Idwal has been given 2 minutes to present his case (don’t know who has the unenviable task of telling him time’s up!).
Leaflets are being distributed to key areas in the Ward and we hope that word of mouth will also mean that people will know that an independent candidate is standing who is not having to toe a party line, but can stand up for the protection of the community and the open spaces people value.
Come along this Thursday, 26th April, to the Wheatsheaf Hotel at Callerton Parkway for ‘Question Time’ organised by the Newcastle West Greenbelt Protection Campaign. All candidates from the wards most affected by the housing plans have been invited to set out their views. We want them to answer your questions about why this housing is needed and why it could be built despite large brownfield sites in the city standing vacant. A third of council seats are up for grabs, and the way you vote could make a difference. We hope to see you all there at 7pm on Thursday. Click here to download a leaflet.
Local people were kept in the dark on building plans while council held secret talks with London-based investor
Newcastle Council claims to be acting transparently in its consultation with residents over its One Core Strategy (OCS) – a 21,000-house development plan which has aroused opposition from people across Newcastle and Gateshead. But new evidence obtained by Save Throckley’s Open Places (STOP) suggests the council is not treating all interested parties equally.
The council, it seems, has been happy to give large landowners privileged access to its thinking – apparently discussing the contents of the OCS plan with them at a time when residents were being kept in the dark. This would make a mockery of its claims to be acting transparently. The landowners, of course, are the very people who are in line for a financial windfall if their land is approved for development – whereas residents will undoubtedly see a sharp drop in their property values if the OCS plans go ahead.
What is the evidence that the council is favouring landowners? Principally, the action of a large Throckley landowner – London-based Greenwich Hospital Trust (GHT).
STOP has learned that GHT bought Fernhill, a key plot of land in Throckley, late in 2011. In October 2011 Newcastle made its very first public announcement of the OCS development plan. OCS is set to deliver a financial bonanza to GHT. Undeveloped farmland in Throckley that GHT has owned for many years has suddenly become valuable – because Newcastle now wants to put a 500-home housing estate on it. But GHT’s purchase of Fernhill was designed to make that development site even more valuable, by clearing the path for an essential access road between it and Throckley’s main road, the B6582. (Hexham Rd)
The City council have published an analysis of responses from the consultation on the One Core Strategy; people in Throckley put forward the third most numerous objections:-
Callerton had the most, followed by Salter’s lane in Gosforth and then Throckley. The totals were based on letters and petitions.
However nothing has been removed from Throckley; though parts of proposed sites were removed from neighbouring areas such as Walbottle and Callerton. And of course the whole site adjoining Salter’s Lane nature reserve. We are pleased for these areas – but it looks like Throckley has been overlooked.
Idwal John has launched his bid to become the next City Councillor for the Newburn ward.
Standing of course as a S.T.O.P. candidate in protest against the proposed housing developments.
We are asking supporters to play a full part in this campaign to save our heritage by passing on this message to all your contacts, and if possible to print the leaflet for display and/or distribution.
Then of course we would hope that they, and you, will vote for Idwal (and S.T.O.P.)
Anyone that does not live in the ward could instead sign our on-line petition.
Thank you for your continuing support.
The local council elections in May might be embarrassing for both the Labour and Lib Dem parties on Newcastle Council.
It is likely that other groups campaigning against the One Core Strategy housing proposals will follow the example of the S.T.O.P. group (Save Throckley and Walbottle Open Places) by fielding a candidate only on this issue.
Idwal John, a Throckley resident for 20 years, originally from Wales, used to teach politics but is putting theory into practice by standing in Newburn Ward. He comments:-
“I want to allow people to express their anger that more than 600 houses are still proposed for Throckley and Walbottle after other sites have been removed from the plans. Nothing has been taken out of the Throckley area and only part of the Walbottle site has been removed.
By fielding a candidate we can underline the importance of the issue- Newcastle Council must follow the recent government planning guidelines to use brownfield sites for building first.”
“The fight continues to save our valuable green spaces”