On Sunday 12th February more than 500 people joined a walk in protest at plans by Newcastle and North Tyneside Councils to surround Gosforth Nature Reserve, the city’s most important wildlife site, with nearly 1,000 new houses.
Young and old joined the walk, including some people dressed as badgers to highlight the wildlife that would be lost if the housing plans went ahead.
The 3 mile walk followed the route of the wildlife corridor from the nature reserve at Gosforth Park along the Ouseburn to the Tyne.
James Littlewood, Director of the Natural History Society of Northumbria which manages Gosforth Nature Reserve, was delighted with the event, “The fantastic turn out for the walk really shows how much people object to these plans and that they want the councils to protect their most important wildlife sites, not damage them. ”
The protest was organised by Newcastle’s Save Gosforth Wildlife movement and West Moor Residents Association in North Tyneside.
The protests were directed at proposals in Newcastle City Council’s One Core Strategy for 600 homes off Salters Lane on fields next to Gosforth nature reserve.
The protest is also targeting plans by housing developer Bellway for 366 executive homes on the Whitehouse Farm site in North Tyneside which is also close to the reserve.
Thousands of objections have been lodged with Newcastle and North Tyneside councils against each of the proposals.
Nick Price, from West Moor Residents Association, said: “The people who turned out are not tree huggers or nimbys or anti-development. They want development which is sustainable and which is in the right place.”
James Littlewood goes on to say “The politicians have overlooked just how passionately people feel about wildlife and natural places where they can enjoy fresh air and relief from urban pressures. We are not anti-development but it has to be in the right place. Development on green buffer zones for a nature reserve and important wildlife corridor beggars belief.”
The Natural History Society of Northumbria thanks all those people who have shown their support for this campaign so far.