Our Village and Birney Hill Farm Green Belt

The proposed development by Lugano to build almost 300 houses with associated retail and commercial premises on the Green Belt adjacent to the southern boundary of Darras Hall:

  • Is NOT going to be like Darras Hall.
  • It proposes a much higher density of housing.

Did you know?…

That the 1000 acres for the Darras development were bought by a not-for-profit organisation, the Northern Allotment Society in 1907 and divided into 5 acres plots for buyers to build their own homes and grow vegetables and flowers.  It developed very slowly at first and didn’t take off till the 1950s.  Now it is regenerating with many new builds.

But the Lugano proposals are simply to make easy, fat profits for the developer.  A green field site next to the most prestigious estate in the county – roll it on boys!

That the proposed development is not sustainable today or in the future.   It is at least 6 miles to make a round trip to the centre of Ponteland from Birney Hill Farm.  All journeys will be made by car. No one is going to walk children to school from there and as for cycle ways, the return trip is all uphill!   Flooding, already a problem to residents on the southern edge of Darras Hall, can only get worse if there is substantial building on steep slopes above them.  More hard surfacing causes faster run-off from heavy rain that cannot be accommodated by ponds and swales.

Did you know? …

That there is every need to protect wildlife, enhance the existing hedges and the mature trees, improve the permanent pasture for better carbon sequestration and improve drainage of fields.  This can all be done NOW.  Building houses and the associated hard infrastructure will hinder, not help this process.  The established rural environment of fields, trees and hedgerows next to the large green gardens of Darras is a unique environment which would be destroyed by building almost 300 houses.

That the owners of the farm are responsible for the listed Old Birney Windmill which needs conservation and consolidation now to stop its degradation.

That Ponteland has no housing shortage with hundreds of properties on the market.   

That the flight path from and to Newcastle airport is only yards away from the proposed development and any new building would be in the safety zone alongside this flight path.  There could be further hazard with lighting interfering with sight navigation for landing.  There is always the possibility of a major event following a bird strike.

The ‘sweeteners’ proposed by the developer when examined carefully will not convince anyone of their viability.  A community farm – run by? financed by? Animals in close proximity to housing?  Ask farmers on the urban fringe about dogs.  A community orchard? Dream on.  The developer thinks that all these fine-sounding schemes will sway doubters to support the development.  Ponteland people are too savvy to be conned with phrases like new green spaces, growing areas, managed allotments and outdoor recreation all billed as ‘new green infrastructure’.  All to be managed by a Community Trust in charge of these 92 acres of a patchwork of open spaces with diverse uses!  Close examination of their figures do not add up, the figures are just dreams.   The whole concept of such a Trust is not enforceable and it plays no part in the planning examination of their proposals.

Did you know?…

That Lugano claims it can sustain and enhance Ponteland’s community and characteristics for years to come but we see nothing but desecration of our countryside and the destruction of our village ambience by such a large unwanted and unnecessary development proposal.

That we need farmland to feed our population and that agriculture is part of the unique character and nature of Ponteland.  The local farms, communities and small businesses combine to create a rural atmosphere that draws residents to the area.  Climate change, deforestation and large scale developments could all contribute to a significant shortage of food in the future.

Did you know?…

  • Four generations of the same family managed this farm in the last 90 years.
  • Ponteland is surrounded and defined by the Green Belt
  • That any incursion into the Green Belt means that it is lost and gone forever. Not just spoiling the open country for us, but for our children and all future generations.



  • Former farmhouse, Darras Hall seen from Fell Lane
  • Ancient rig and furrow shows up in snow-dusted field
  • Birney Hill listed Windmill and listed Farmhouse, dated 1837
  • Birney Hill listed Windmill and listed Farmhouse, dated 1837
  • Hungry sheep