We are working to prevent the destruction of a wildlife corridor that links Gosforth Park to Weetslade Country Park.
A wildlife corridor connects the many habitats and species in Gosforth Park to the north with those at Weetslade Country Park, Seaton Burn and the wider countryside. The importance of this wildlife corridor was first identified in the 1990s and it was incorporated into the Unitary Development Plan and subsequent Local Plans.
The wildlife corridor connects Newcastle and North Tyneside areas and is crossed by the A1056 Sandy Lane. There is already some development in the corridor which was formerly part of the Weetslade Colliery.
The Natural History Society of Northumbria and Northumberland Wildlife Trust have been working with local authorities for many years to try and protect and improve the wildlife corridor.
Some years ago North Tyneside Council purchased land in the corridor in order to build a new relief road to replace the A1056. However this scheme was shelved. Subsequently the Council has earmarked the land to be used for business development (from which the Council hopes to make some money).
A master plan had been drawn up which sought to incorporate the wildlife corridor alongside roads and developments but this is now out-of-date. Whilst we would prefer not to see this site developed as it contains many species such as Skylarks and Lapwings we believe that with proper planning a compromise can be found that creates quality wildlife habitats on and off-site and allows development. This approach is also supported by policies in the planning system and some people at North Tyneside Council.
Unfortunately, so far the Council’s Planners and the developer they are working with have refused to do any proper planning for this site and intend to develop it on a piecemeal basis. Our view is that this approach will not provide for the wildlife that will be lost.
What’s happening now?
The Council is working with Highbridge Business Parks Ltd to find businesses to locate on the site in order to develop it.
In June a planning application was submitted for an industrial (warehouse type) building with associated car parking and roads. This is the first development proposed for the site. The ecological reports submitted with the application have highlighted the value of the area for breeding Skylark, local butterflies and newts. These reports recommended the mitigation that would be required to compensate for the damage that would be caused. The applicant has not provided any such mitigation and so we are objecting to this application and encouraging the public to do so as well.
You can register your objection online via North Tyneside Councils website by clicking here. To object, click the “make a comment” tab and when it states “reason for comment” select “Adverse effect on wildlife”. It only takes a couple of minutes. Alternatively you can email your objection to firstname.lastname@example.org If you live in North Tyneside you could also contact your local councillors to ask them to speak up for you on this matter.
Please make your voice heard.
In order to help sell the land North Tyneside Council secured funding from the government in 2015 to build a new access road. The access road is a “road to nowhere” without a plan for the business park; and without a master plan it is impossible to know whether a road in that location is needed and how it might impact on plans to retain wildlife corridors through the site. It is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.
We objected to the planning application and you can read our objection letter here. Unsurprisingly the Council voted to give itself planning permission for a road it had already received the funding for!
North Tyneside Council is in the process of creating a new Local Plan for the borough which says where development should take place up to 2030. The latest plans show this area being earmarked for business development but the plans do not include a “masterplan” for this site to show a proposed layout or how wildlife corridors will be retained and how the loss of any habitats compensated for. For this reason we have objected to the Council’s Local Plan.