Saturday, December 17, 2011

Residents reject building plans by massive majority

Residents of Dunston Hill and eastern Whickham in Gateshead have overwhelmingly rejected proposals to allow building on the local greenbelt.

Gateshead Council’s Strategic Land Review is considering proposals to allow around 800 houses to be built on land to the south of Whickham Highway, between Dunston and Whickham.

Local Liberal Democrat Councillor Peter Maughan, who is leading the battle against the house building plans, carried out a survey of residents of Dunston Hill. He has received replies from 303 households in the area.

The results of the survey are:

oppose greenbelt building plans: 253 (83%)
support building if roads improved: 14 (4%)
support building a smaller number: 21 (7%)
support the proposals: 5 (2%)
don’t know: 10 (4%)

“If anyone wants evidence of the public opposition to this proposal to grab the local greenbelt, they need look no further than the results of this survey,” said Peter. “My survey shows overwhelming opposition to the proposals. Only one in fifty residents back the proposals to use this area for house building.

“I have been sent hundreds of comments by residents about the house-building plans which I will be passing on to the planners at Gateshead Council.

“I will also be telling them it’s time to pull the plug on this greenbelt smash and grab “

Changes planned at Gibside Estate

Gibside Estate has submitted plans to Gateshead Council to remove the over-flow car park within the walled garden and to restore it to garden use. The replacement parking will be provided within the West Wood (main car park) and at the Warren Haugh (over-flow car park).

Both these areas are located on the left of the main drive up to the estate from Busty Bank. The West Wood area is currently planted up by the Forestry Commission and the Warren Haugh is agricultural/grazing land.

Over both car parks, 365 new spaces will be provide. This is less than the 380 spaces within the walled garden at present.

A new admissions hut is also proposed at the Warren Haigh car park.

Parking charges to start in January

As expected, Labour-led Gateshead Council have pushed through their plans for car park charges in Whickham, despite strong resistance from local residents, businesses and councillors.

However, a last minute objection by your local Lib Dem councillors has meant a delay in implementing the scheme and also some success in gaining some concessions.

To support the Safe Routes to School scheme at Front Street School, the starting time for car park charging in both car parks has been pushed back from 8:30 am to 9:00 am.

Drivers using the West (Gibside Arms) car park solely for the purposes of using the recycling facilities will not be charged.

No charges will apply to electric vehicles utilising the electric charging points.

In the East (Library) car park, parking charges will be 20p per hour up to a maximum of 4 hours. The West (Gibside Arms) car park will cost £1 all day. Charging is now due to commence on Monday 9th January 2012.

Lib Dem campaigner Sonya Hawkins said, “The charges risk damaging businesses in Whickham and will push parking into residential streets.

“The £30,000 spent on installing ticket machines will take years to get back. That money would have been much better spent on improving the car parks.

“We have also asked if any future profit from the charges will be used in Whickham village - but the answer is that it might be used to improve car parks in other parts of Gateshead - including ones that don’t have charges. This simply isn’t fair or reasonable.”