In early October 2011, rumours started to circulate that large housing developments were planned for Throckley and surrounding areas. Some residents attempted to verify this online but were unable to determine whether the rumours were true.
On 20th October 2011 a concerned local resident, after hearing about the plans on Look North, and discovering the extent of the proposals, posted leaflets through doors inviting other residents to a meeting on 24th October at the Bank Top Club, Throckley. The meeting was attended by around 60 residents, most of whom had heard of the proposals via the leaflet.
Apart from discovering Newcastle City Council’s proposals to build 21,000 homes by 2030, mostly on Greenbelt sites, the most shocking aspect was the way in which the Council had approached the consultation. It had apparently been launched on 4th October and was due to close on 18th November. This left only THREE WEEKS to voice any concerns, of which there were many.
Fortunately, thanks to pressure from local residents and other groups across Newcastle, the consultation was extended to 4th January 2012, thus allowing a more reasonable three months in which to object. The Council were also persuaded to write to all Newcastle City residents with further details, although it would appear that not everyone has received a copy.
As a result of the initial meeting on 24th October, it became apparent that action groups were being formed across the City to fight the proposals. The STOP campaign was therefore launched in earnest to voice the concerns of Throckley, Walbottle, Newburn, Blucher and Lemington residents. We will also be joining forces with the other groups to share information and add strength to each other’s campaign.
Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council have produced a Joint Core Strategy to set out the development plans for the city. Once adopted, the document will be the basis for all future planning decisions.
These plans are attempting to make it easier to gain planning permission for all types of development and include proposals to develop greenbelt sites in the West and North West of Newcastle.
The proposals for Throckley, Walbottle and Newburn are to build up to 1,000 homes, not only on the greenbelt but also to include school playing fields and other community resources.
Please CLICK HERE to view the latest map of the proposals.
Throckley is already a large centre of population, expanding it will bring no tenable advantages, but conversely there will be some serious disadvantages. Some of these are as follows:
With a population of over 5,000 the cohesiveness of the community spirit is already under pressure. Producing a largely commuter dormitory suburb will drastically impede this.
The school playing field is an essential resource that must be retained for future generations. It is inconceivable that with contemporary concerns of heath and fitness of children that they would be lost.
Increased demand on services will bring a consequential expansion of infrastructure: roads, parking, supermarkets, etc. There will undoubtedly be a significant increase in traffic and car use at great environmental cost. Hardly in line with a green agenda.
The destruction of wildlife habitat would be a tragedy as this is a “wildlife corridor” incorporating Throckley Dene and the Tyne Valley. Bats inhabit the old farm buildings and they are a protected species. Many bird species depend upon the farmland and hedges.
The loss of recreational amenity will be keenly felt by a wide variety of users including horse riders, joggers, cyclists, walkers and others.
The eradication of very productive farmland would be significant, and a thriving riding school would be seriously affected.
The direction of development at the fringes of our city deflects attention from the crucial need to redevelop and regenerate our inner city areas.
There is a great deal of undeveloped land inside current city boundaries that it is imperative to redevelop if we are to grow a sustainable environment.
The period of development is too futuristic and saddles our community with a long period of uncertainty and disturbance. There is a serious downside in this causing a lack of commitment to the community, individual stress, and physical disruption.
We also object to the initial period allowed for consultation being ridiculously short given that the proposals cover twenty years or more. This would have given the unfair impression of a coherent set of proposals being opposed by a disparate and disorganised range of responses.