The story of our successful campaign to prevent house building next to Gosforth Park Nature Reserve.
On Sunday 30th October 2011 over 150 people gathered at the nature reserve to show their support for local wildlife and countryside, to protest against the Council’s plans and to call on the Council to protect this countryside so that future generations of people could enjoy wildlife in their city.
On Wednesday 2nd November 2011 over 200 members of Save Gosforth Wildlife lobbied councillors from Newcastle at a council meeting and under public pressure they agreed to extend the period of public consultation from a paltry 6 weeks to 3 months to enable people to have their say. James Littlewood, the Natural History Society’s Director spoke to the council and appealed for them to listen to the evidence.
The Save Gosforth Wildlife Campaign organised a public meeting with Newcastle planners at Gosforth Civic Hall on 15th November 2011, which was attended by more than 420 people. At this meeting it was clear that people strongly opposed the council’s plans and believe that the wildlife corridor should be protected for future generations of people and wildlife.
On 6th December 2011 we combined forces with other groups around the city that opposed the council’s plans and delivered a coffin covered in turf topped with a red squirrel and badger to the Council. We wanted to symbolise what their plans meant and raise awareness via the press so that the people of the city were aware of what was going on.
On 12th February 2012 over 500 people took part in a protest walk along the route of the wildlife corridor threatened by the development plans (from the nature reserve, along the Ouseburn to the River Tyne). Some of the protesters dressed as badgers to highlight that this enigmatic animal would be driven out by the development.
On February 28th 2012 Newcastle City Council announced that it had revised its plans and was withdrawing the Salter’s Lane development proposal due to the impact it would have on wildlife and Gosforth Park Nature Reserve.
During 2012 and 2013 the council continued to consult on its plans and we continued to campaign for the site not to be developed. During this phase Persimmon Homes put forwards their arguments to develop the fields.
On 3rd July 2014 we gave evidence to a government planning inspector at a packed meeting in Gateshead. We explained why this site should not be included in the Local Plan in order to rebuff the proposals put forwards by Persimmon. In November 2014 the planning inspector found the plan sound, meaning that the fields would not be allocated for development and that they would remain as Greenbelt and a wildlife corridor.
We would like to thank everyone who has given their time to campaign against this proposal. We hope that it shows that if you have good evidence and enough people actively support wildlife then we can make a difference.