For all the latest news on the STOP campaign, please see our blog posts below. You can read more About Us and how the campaign got started; view photographs of the Proposed Sites; discover How To Help and find Diary Dates for upcoming events.
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We hope you will find our web site useful and appreciate any help or feedback you may be able to give. We aim to update the site regularly so please keep checking back, or join our Email List to be notified of any campaign news.
If you are interested to see the account of the Walbottle public meeting, which will stay in the memory of those who attended for a long time, look at the July issue of Walker Spy which also has other interesting revelations about the Council’s plans for the future.
The second consultation phase has seen a lot of effort put in by campaigners in Throckley. Standard letters were delivered to nearly 2000 homes and we hope that many residents will complete and send these in to the Council.
Many people helped in this task, and thanks go to Dorothy, Helen, Nancy, Jane, Kevin, Anne, Angeline and family, Jim, Caroline, Eric, Ian, Wendy and Wendy’s neice.
The phase ends formally on September 13th and we plan to have a coffee morning shortly after that to catch up after the summer.
Pat registered a formal complaint with the Council regarding the consultation phase, and has received a reply from Steve Parks, Head of Communication and Marketing. There is not an avenue to take this further other than to ask for a review by the Council’s Corporate complaints Officer, which Pat is preparing. The Local government Ombudsman does not deal with general issues. only those that have a specific consequence for an individual.
1) As part of our campaign we have produced, for every house in Throckley, a standard letter objecting to the proposals for sites 4944 and 4945, together with an envelope already addressed with the Council Freepost address, and a brief attachment which includes the STOP contact details and asks people to put their names and addresses together with an individual comment on the standard letter before posting.
Several volunteers have helped in the production task of 2000+ letters and in the distribution! Many thanks.
2) The sincerity of the Council’s consultation process is a matter of public interest. Many people have observed that it seems designed NOT to inform.
Pat McGee has registered a formal complaint under the Council’s complaints procedure. Pat is compiling a dossier of examples of the deliberately misleading information material, including the CityLife 4-page extract. If you have any examples please get in touch with Pat by clicking HERE or calling 0191 264 2688.
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!!
Our Campaign is stepping up a gear in response to the intransigence of the council.
Every home in Throckley is soon receiving a model letter through the door, with an invitation to sign it and send it to the Civic Centre.
You may wish of course to write your own personal letter stressing your particular concerns.
Clearly a massive response is needed to get our opposition through to them. Please encourage everyone and everybody to participate.
Electronic copies are available by clicking HERE.
We are often told that there are still many people in the area unaware of the proposals and of the nightmare that they will bring. After this exercise we hope that nobody will underestimate the devastating effect on our community.
Thanks for your continued support.
MP for Newcastle North, Catherine McKinnell is holding a surgery on:
6th July, 11am: The Grange Centre, Newburn Road, Throckley, NE15 9AF.
She has been helpful in the last round and we need to gain her support again. Are you able to go to see her? It would be good for her to see some new faces promoting our campaign.
Also, our local Councillors are holding their next surgery on:
14th July, 10am: Walbottle Institute, Walbottle Road, Walbottle, NE15 8HY.
Please press them to support us.
There was anger and disarray at the meeting on the revised proposals for the One Core Strategy on 26/6/2012 at Walbottle School.
The shambles started before the meeting even began with the participants having to negotiate through battalions of pupils attending the Schools Summer ball! Some residents have reported that they were unable to get to the meeting as a result of the congestion.
More importantly Council bosses had seriously underestimated the outrage felt by residents and sought to impose a straightjacket on the meeting.
It was clear from the outset that The Council, represented by Councillor Henri Murison, and officers led by Harvey Emms, Director of Planning, have a vision of how consultations should work:
First, Make any notifications to the public as bland and vague as possible so no-one will notice the importance of the issue e.g. Produce the notices to go in libraries, notice boards etc, smaller than A4 size and head them “Lets Talk”.
Second, Stage manage the meeting in such a way as to stifle difficult questions and impose a formula which attempts to divert people from the issues they really want to discuss.
This strategy completely fell apart at Walbottle on Tuesday, where right from the start angry comments were expressed at the imposition of a “workshop” arrangement where people sat at tables with council officer “facilitators” who attempted to frame the discussion along the lines laid out.
The Consultation meeting with representatives from Newcastle City Council is tomorrow, Tuesday June 26th at Walbottle High School at 6-8pm.
Our feeling is that the decision makers are more interested in “telling” us rather than “listening” to us. Nevertheless we have produced a sheet (attached) that we think should help call them to account. Our real hope is that they will respond to the sheer weight of opposition, so please attend and try to persuade as many others to come as possible.
Also since our last meeting,
- An extra 76 people have signed our online petition.
- We have sent a press release to the Journal.
We plan to follow the Consultation meeting with a model letter of objection and leaflet with the intention to put it through every door in the area. The draft will be circulated via email and the website for additions / amendments before it is published. We will also hold another meeting in a few weeks time
Please show your support by attending tomorrow’s meeting.
Meeting Date: Monday 18th June
This meeting had been arranged at fairly short notice as concern had been raised by Council reports published online, leading into the 2nd Consultation on the One Core Strategy.
As we all know, despite having the third largest number of opposing comments, no change has been made to the housing proposals for Throckley, with some reduction in the Walbottle proposals.
Our Councillors were unable to attend this meeting and around 50 residents were alarmed at the following:
- A report to the Council recently which analyses sites still in the plan for housing development includes possible access options of significance to the village and the clear implication that Greenwich hospital Trust, the landowners of the large site already in the plan, have longer term plans to sell further areas of adjacent land leading West to Heddon.
- The content of this report and other complex documents is known to the Planning Officers and presumably Councillors, but it is left to vigilant residents to spot it and raise questions about it.
- The action group opposing the housing proposals (STOP) is well known to Councillors and like other action groups has been involved since the launch of the One Core Strategy – however no attempt was made to alert the group to the new documents
- Meanwhile Newburn Councillors are meeting Greenwich representatives without any commitment to taking back the outcomes to residents.
Further action is planned for the Consultation phase starting on June 20th and will be reported on the website. June 26th is the date for the Council consultation meeting at Walbottle High School and this will be an opportunity to push for answers and demonstrate your opposition.
- Possible compulsory property purchases in Drove road area.
- Further building behind Hexham Road?
- Larger junction proposed at Fernhill.
The S.T.O.P. campaign is holding a meeting on Tuesday 19th June 6-7 p.m. at:
THROCKLEY COMMUNITY HALL (behind Victoria Terrace)
A recent Council report assessing the viability of the School playing field (site 4945) and the fields to the west of the brickworks (site 4944) regarding access reads as follows:-
“The preferred access to site 4944 is the south via a new junction with Hexham road and through site of Fernhill House (recently acquired by Greenwich Hospital trust and part of site of Throckley primary School (subject to negotiation with Newcastle City Council). As a minimum a 10 to 15 metre strip along the western boundary of site 4945 could unlock development of site 4944 but preferably more to allow development to front onto access.
As a fallback position, it may be possible to either upgrade Drove Road to the west or create a new access further to the west, through land also in the ownership of Greenwich hospital Trust and in respect of which it has longer term aspirations for housing development. Both options are likely to require acquisition of existing properties and would be more remote from the centre of the village”
The implications of this MUST be put to Planning officers and local Councillors during the 2nd consultation stage which starts on the 20th and includes public meetings and drop in sessions.
PLEASE ATTEND OUR MEETING – THE REMOVAL OF SALTERS LANE AND PART OF CALLERTON MAKES THROCKLEY MORE VULNERABLE
ACTION IS NECESSARY NOW!!
This result is an endorsement of our Campaign. The Labour Party got less votes than last year! even though at a national level they are on the rise.
Newcastle Council must now review it’s One Core Strategy in the light of such significant opposition.
Thank you all so much for your support, we go on to the next round of consultation in June in good spirit.
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”
Sunday 1st April
Throckley Community Hall at 4.00pm
Hope you are able to attend:
1 Report on meeting and correspondence with Greenwich representatives.
2 Local election strategy
3 Report on Scrutiny meeting called by Lib Dems
4 Report on meeting with local MP Catherine McKinnell
This is an open meeting and we aim to get in touch with the other groups involved and see if a demonstration can be organised to coincide with the meeting.