Newcastle City Council have recently published a report called THE STRATEGIC LAND REVIEW -PART 2 (SLR) on phase 1 of their consultations with the public about the ONE CORE STRATEGY, and Throckley has been identified as a: village growth area!
The full implication of some of the details is becoming clearer, not least by the statement that the preferred access to site 4944 (530 houses proposed) is through Fernhill House on Hexham road at the Bank Top. To gain access to site 4944 the proposal is to build on half of Throckley Primary School playing field-houses plus an access road (site 4945). This in itself is contentious! The implications for the whole village if this goes ahead are momentous.
In practice, the first phase of development of sites 4945 and 4944 would be to build the road through Fernhill, so that all construction and material traffic would be using Hexham road and the new junction required. This traffic could enter the village from the A69 by-pass along Ponteland Road, from Newcastle on the West Road, from the south along Newburn Road, or from the west through Heddon!! THE WHOLE VILLAGE WILL BE AFFECTED. The stated date for the completion of this development is 2030, hence 18 years!!
Even after 2030 when the development is complete, the volume of traffic generated by 600, 2 car families, maybe 3 car families by then, will exit the site through the same junction onto Hexham Road in the middle of the village, so traffic numbers will hardly diminish.
Not 10 years ago a planning proposal to develop the Community Recreation Ground with access onto Hexham road was thrown out as being unsafe and unsuitable. Now a much bigger development is being proposed with access at the top of a steep bank and much greater volumes of traffic. A simple T-junction is not likely to cope with this new traffic! IS THIS PLANNING GONE MAD!! WOULD A MUCH MORE LOGICAL DECISION BE TO PUT ACCESS TO SITE 4944 IN THE VICINITY OF THE BRICKWORKS AND AVOID THE PROBLEMS!!
IS THE GREENEST OF GREENFIELD SITES IN THROCKLEY TO BE BUILT ON?
One of the conclusions in the STATEGIC LAND REVIEW PART 2 is that half of the existing THROCKLEY PRIMARY SCHOOL playing field (site 4945) is still being considered as a suitable site for development. In fact, it is named as a preferred site! This is despite the predicted increase in the school roll of 120 additional pupils from new homes.
The existing field was acquired by the city about 30 years ago, at the suggestion of the then headmaster Mr Ward because they had no outdoor recreational space! It was not the flat field it is now. It had to be levelled drained and prepared in a lengthy and expensive operation. It has been suggested that another site will be offered as alternative, but where is there such a site adjacent to the school? Have the planners got their eyes on the Community Ground?
The logic of any decision to build on such a site has to be seriously questioned in light of almost weekly concerns in the national press about the lack of physical education in schools, and the general lack of outdoor activity by today’s generation of school children. What do the parents, headmaster, governors and the Minister for Sport think of this? Will decisions like this deal with well reported problems of obesity and unhealthy lifestyles in the population as a whole?