Find out about the Save Gosforth Wildlife campaign and help us to protect Gosforth Park Nature Reserve and its wildlife from being surrounded by development.
Local residents, the Natural History Society of Northumbria and Northumberland Wildlife Trust are encouraging people to join a “Save Gosforth Wildlife” campaign to oppose plans put forwards by housing developers and Newcastle and North Tyneside Councils that would surround Gosforth Park Nature Reserve with new houses and business developments. On this page you can find information about the plans and how to join the campaign and use your voice to help protect this fantastic nature reserve and its wildlife for future generations.
There are several development proposals threatening the nature reserve and its wildlife:
1. North Tyneside Council is in the process of producing plans for building developments up to 2030. These plans propose building on the majority of remaining open land in North Tyneside that is not in the Greenbelt. This includes several sites close to Gosforth Nature Reserve. We have objected to some of these sites being included in the plans. We have also been working with the Council to improve the ecological aspects of their plans, such as wildlife corridors. To find out more click here.
2. Property developers are at an early stage of producing proposals for open land between Gosforth Park and Weetslade Country Park. This is on a wildlife corridor linking the two sites and we are concerned that any development on this site should retain corridors for wildlife. We are in discussions with North Tyneside Council about our concerns. The site is being called “Indigo Business Park” and you can read more by clicking here.
3. In October 2011 Newcastle City Council produced a first draft of its Local Development Plan (NewcastleGateshead Core Strategy). This plan set out the scale and location of development up to 2030. In this draft Newcastle Council identified the fields next to the reserve (to the east and south) for the building of 600 houses even though this is Greenbelt land next to the city’s most important wildlife site. It was not a coincidence that this land is owned by Persimmon Homes who lobbied the council to build on it. After months of campaigning and thousands of objections Newcastle Council announced in February 2012 that it was dropping its plans to build on this site due to the impact on the nature reserve and wildlife. In July 2014 a government planning inspector carried out a public examination of the final plans and this was agreed by the Council in March 2015. This means that the fields will be protected as Greenbelt and a wildlife corridor at least until the plan is revised again in 2030. To find out more about our successful campaign please click here.
4. In December 2011 Bellway Homes submitted a planning application to build 366 executive houses just 400 metres to the northeast of the reserve on fields at White House Farm, which is in North Tyneside Council area. North Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee received over 1,000 objections to this proposal and at a meeting in April 2012 they voted unanimously to refuse planning permission. Unfortunately that was not the end of the story. Bellway appealed to the Government to overturn the council’s decision and a planning inquiry took place in October 2012 at which a government inspector heard evidence. Based on his report the Secretary of State overturned the Council’s decision and granted planning permission. However he agreed with us that Bellway had not provided sufficient compensation for the damage they would do to wildlife and so the permission was granted subject to another site being found where habitat improvements could offset the loss of biodiversity. Another site, Mares’ Close near Cramlington, has been purchased and will be managed for wildlife. The housing development has yet to start and we are still agreeing some of the planning conditions, however the new access road/roundabout is under construction.
5. A planning application was submitted in spring 2015 to build a large amusement centre directly across the road from Gosforth Park Nature Reserve. This is by an American owned company Max-a-Millions who sent contractors to the site to cut down all the trees and significantly damaged the ecology of the site. We objected to their planning application but despite local opposition North Tyneside Council have granted planning permission. To find out more click here.
You can help stop the destruction of our wildlife and countryside by telling decision makers at the Councils and Government that you object to these plans. The more people who object and make their views known the better the chance we have to stop these proposals and to save our wildlife and open spaces for future generations.
If you can, please help to tell other people and encourage friends, neighbours and colleagues to get involved. Campaigners have set up a Save Gosforth Wildlife Facebook page to help spread the word, post pictures and keep people informed.
If you would like to get involved in this campaign please get in touch with us via Facebook or the Society office.
You can find out more about our work responding to development proposals by clicking here.