Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Ponteland Green Belt Group
To Our Supporters
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The proposal for Green Belts in the UK came in the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 and they were implemented in the 1950s. Ponteland is entirely surrounded by Green Belt, indeed, the settlement is defined by its Green Belt. Its purpose is clear and unequivocal – to protect the countryside from urban sprawl and protect the character of the Ponteland.
How does it do this?
Why do we need to maintain it?
Most of our Green belt is farmland used for crops and sheep. Since the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001 there have been no cattle on the farms but some are turning to livery for horses. We need the crops to feed people and the fields provide areas for carbon storage and limit the impact of flooding.
The Green Belt is important for wildlife and provides a link with conservation sites, like Prestwick Carr, through the hedgerows and streams which are important linking green corridors. There is abundant wildlife in our Green Belt and a number of residents on the boundaries have recorded their observations with binoculars and cameras at the ready. The natural green environment is not an add-on or a trophy extra for our population; the landscape is an essential part of our living space.
WHAT IS THE THREAT TO THE PONTELAND GREEN BELT?
The government in Whitehall and our local MP Guy Opperman say that the Green belt will remain protected and will not in any way be watered down. These assurances come from Eric Pickles, the larger than life minister for Local Communities, who said there would be no changes to the protections outlined by the government in their National Policy Framework. Oh good then. But on the other hand the local councils, or the Northumberland County Council in our case, can make changes to the Green Belt. They are currently considering this as part of their Core Strategy to be published by March next year.
Meanwhile, developers are looking at ways to make some fast bucks and two proposals for hundreds, even thousands, of new houses are threatening the Green Belt. Both the Ponteland Town Council and the Northumberland CC should be aware of the uniqueness of Ponteland and the importance of such a village near Newcastle since it is a big plus in drawing professional people into the region. It has developed from a small rural village with a well- planned estate developing over the last hundred years. There is no other town or village like it in the country! It is unique! If developers are allowed to build on the Green Belt then sheer size and numbers will destroy what we have and value and why we choose to live here.
How can YOU help to prevent this potential desecration of the Green Belt?
This group of local volunteers are looking at the issues of potential large scale development around Ponteland at a time when local authorities Local Development Plan is not in place. This can be seen as a window of opportunity for any developer.
To date developers are looking at the possibility of developing on Greenbelt designated land at Clickemin Farm and Birney Hill Farm, in total up to 800 houses. There is also a land reserve of 2,500 acres at Dissington Estate, and maybe other areas.
The Greenbelt Group have grave concerns to the impact any developments of this size could have on Ponteland which most residents still see as a village with its unique characteristics.
This situation is compounded with the changes in the planning procedure which simplify the process which any application goes through. The revised National Planning Policy Framework, which is part of the National Guidelines, stream lines the process for planning applications. This could almost fast track an application through the planning process. In reality an application could be submitted to Northumberland County Council very soon, and objections can only be made within 21days of the application.
Question: Can Green Belt be built on?
Answer: Probably…if we don’t act now!!!!
We all need to respond to Northumberland County Council when any of these applications are submitted for consideration.
If you would like to be kept up to date or get involved, visit the website
Just remember these issues will affect you and the way you live.
Chair of the Ponteland Greenbelt Group