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New group in 'save our greenbelt' call
A NEWLY formed residents’ association is gearing up for a fight to save greenbelt land from housing development.
Developers Carillion and Arlington Real Estate are working on proposals to build about 40 homes on part of the Durham City greenbelt behind the medieval Crook Hall and Gardens visitor attraction and it is rumoured other schemes are in the pipeline.
The site was unexpectedly earmarked for housing in the latest version of Durham County Council’s County Durham Plan.
But leaders of Sidegate Residents’ Association (SRA) want the area to remain protected as greenbelt.
Secretary Angela Tracy-Smith said: “We’re not against development.
“When planning applications come in for building on the greenbelt then we will respond appropriately but we feel very passionately about the amendment of the greenbelt.
“It’s been described as scrubland but for us it’s a necklace of green.”
Chairman John Lowe said: “The principle of greenbelt is land should only be taken out if there are special reasons for doing so – not just ‘we could do with a bit more land to build on’.”
Previously Keith Bell, owner of the Grade I-listed Crook Hall, said he would want to see the details of any housing proposals before reaching an opinion.
SRA covers a small area comprising Sidegate and Diamond Terrace, between the Radisson Blu hotel and the railway line.
There are fewer than 20 houses but ‘Sidgate’ dates back to the 12th Century.
The SRA is also aimed at encouraging a community feel in the area, raising residents’ concerns including over parking, traffic and flooding and obtaining a 20mph speed limit on Framwelgate Waterside and Frankland Lane.
A major public consultation on the County Durham Plan will run from October 14 to December 6.
Council chiefs say the strategy, which is expected to go before an examination-in-public next summer, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reverse the county’s long-standing economic decline. It is aimed at creating 30,000 new jobs and 31,400 new homes by 2030.
Durham City would get two bypasses and 5,000 extra homes.
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