A SCHEME to build 650 new homes near a country park has sparked opposition from green campaigners. Persimmon Homes submitted the proposals for a parcel of land north of Sunholme Drive, in Wallsend, next to the Rising Sun Country Park.
The development, to be built over the next 10-15 years, is to include a health centre, a retail section, open space and eco-habitats.
The firm says the project will create more than 750 construction jobs and more posts at the health centre and retail unit. Provision will also be made for apprenticeships.
In addition, there will be financial contributions towards education, sports facilities, affordable housing and improvements at the country park itself.
But the plan has caused concern among residents worried about the loss of green space and the impact on wildlife at the Rising Sun.
The Holystone Action Group is among those objecting to the scheme.
Group member Keith Page, 55, of Holystone, said: “We believe that housing developments should not be created on green land. Firms should build on brownfield sites first.
“Under this plan, they are wanting to erect hundreds of houses near the country park. This will undoubtedly have an effect on wildlife ... an important wildlife access point will be blocked.
“We put forward our views to Persimmon and they did listen to our concerns. They also made changes to the scheme and added elements to help mitigate the impact of the development. But we feel this is not sufficient.
“We have made our views known to North Tyneside Council.”
Peter Jordan, divisional strategic land director for Persimmon Homes, said the firm had carried out extensive consultations on the proposals.
He added: “We have invested heavily in community consultation. This includes, for the first time ever, a website designed as part of the consultation process to provide clear and transparent information about the scheme, so that local people can understand why this development is needed and what impact it will have on their lives.
“The scheme is hugely important to the local area and we have worked hard to address a number of complex issues. With any major planning scheme people have to understand its economic advantages and we believe the correct balance has been struck to deliver a high-quality scheme that will bring considerable investment to the community.
“In relation to the Holystone Action Group, we met with them before an application was made to address their concerns. The scheme reflects these changes and we have been transparent in addressing their issues.
“Throughout the consultation process alterations have been made to the original scheme.”
Elsewhere, a new housing development in Peterlee, County Durham, could create over 130 jobs. The proposals, for up to 1,000 homes, are earmarked for a 55-hectare site to the north east of the town, close to the A19.
If approved, the development would include a public park and a community woodland and wildlife area on existing farmland, close to the hamlet of Little Thorpe.
The scheme is by Stockton-based Southlands Management Ltd.