Developers have confirmed their intention to press ahead with the next stage of controversial building works around Callerton, which were a source of widespread anger when large areas of land were taken out of the green belt to make way for around 3,000 new houses by 2030.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed last year that housebuilders were preparing an application for up to 1,600 homes on the as yet undeveloped ‘Upper Callerton’ portion of land, near Westerhope, 400 more than was originally planned for the site.
A consortium made up of Northumberland Estates, Persimmon Homes, Taylor Wimpey and the Quadrini family have now launched a public consultation into the proposed development, with hopes of starting construction in autumn 2023.
Critics, however, have warned that the uplift in the number of houses is “completely unnecessary” and accused developers of “taking liberties at the expense of local people and wildlife”.
The consortium says that the project would create an estimated 600 new jobs and have also proposed a new primary school, nursery, and a retail centre as part of the proposal.
Barry Spall, development planner at Northumberland Estates, said: “We are engaging with local people to explain the consortium’s plans and present the many benefits this latest phase of development offers. We are keen to hear the views of as many people as possible which will be considered before any plans are submitted to the planning authority.
“There are currently huge pressures on the housing sector and more properties are desperately needed to meet the shortage and provide local people with good quality homes in an area that they want to live in.”
The development would include a mix of two, three, four and five bedroomed properties, some of which would be available at affordable home rates.
Environmental campaigner Rachel Locke, of Save Newcastle Wildlife, urged locals concerned about overdevelopment on the outskirts of the city to make their voices heard.
She said: “Yet again we are seeing developers taking liberties at the expense of local people and wildlife.”
The consultation is available online at uppercallertonconsultation.com, while a planning application for the site is expected in the spring.