Petition Closed
Petitioning Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, MP

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government: Save Gosforth Nature Reserve from housing development.


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Gosforth Wildlife Faces Immediate Threat!

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, recently overthrew a decision by North Tyneside Council to refuse planning permission for Bellway to build 366 executive homes and a commercial property on land at White House Farm, West Moor. The site is currently open farmland to the east of the A189, opposite the Garden Centre. This site is approximately 400 metres to the north-east of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve and only 100 m from the woodland next to the reserve, which is designated as a Local Wildlife Site.

Bellway Homes originally submitted an application to build 267 homes in June 2011. The Natural History Society, Wildlife Trust and local residents objected to this application and wrote to North Tyneside Council asking them to turn it down on the grounds that:

* it is too close to an important wildlife site and will have a negative impact on the wildlife there;

* there will be a loss of farmland wildlife and foraging habitat for wildlife in the nature reserve;

*it will damage a wildlife corridor;

*there is insufficient mitigation for habitat/wildlife loss;

*the impact of additional traffic on the A189 and Haddricks Mill junction will be too great;

*it will contribute to urban sprawl

*there will be a loss of local recreation facility for walking and enjoying the countryside
there are other more suitable sites for development in North Tyneside that should be built upon first.

Bellway Homes have since revised their application to increase the number of homes to 366, thus making their scheme even worse! This application was submitted to North Tyneside Council at the end of November 2011. Over 1,000 people wrote to the Council to object to these plans including local MPs and conservation groups.

At a packed meeting in April North Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee voted unanimously to refuse planning permission. This was a great victory for the community and wildlife but unfortunately not the end of the story.

Eric Pickles, on behalf of the government, has decided to overturn the Council’s decision and give the green light to the housing development.

Please sign this petition to show your objection to the totally unnecessary destruction of one of the most important wildlife sites in the North East. The homes, remember, are 'executive homes' not even social housing and the devastating impact that this building would have on the utility of the reserve for wildlife - which includes rare reed bed habitat and is home to some of the UKs most threatened birds, small mammals, flora and insects - cannot be justified.

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You can find out more about the campaign to save the reserve here: http://www.savegosforthwildlife.com/

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(The image above of the reserve is by Phil Thirkell, used under the license CC-BY-NC 2.0 from his Flickr stream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/63008913@N00/306770020/)

Letter to
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, MP
Save Gosforth Nature Reserve from housing development.

I am writing to you to protest your recent decision to overthrow North Tyneside Council’s decision and grant planning permission for the building of 366 executive houses and a commercial property on the fields north-east of Gosforth Nature Reserve (opposite the garden centre).

This decision flies in the face of public opinion, scientific evidence and simple common sense.

It makes no sense to grant permission for this kind of building on the land immediately adjacent to the reserve which, it has been demonstrated scientifically, will have a devastating and probably irreversible negative impact on the utility of the reserve for wildlife - including some of the country's rarest birds, amphibians and insects, when there have already been identified a number of suitable alternative brown-field sites.

The local council has responded in a fully democratic way to the surge of protest that erupted when this idea was first put forward. To over-ride that decision is to ignore the wishes of the local residents, to dismiss one of the most important scientific sites in the north-east and to cause irreparable damage to a highly valued recreational resource.

I appeal to you, in the name of democracy, science and good sense, to reverse your decision and trust that the local council have understood what the local people want.

Bellway have no concern for anything other than their short-term profit and to sacrifice this important, irreplaceable and deeply loved site for the sake of that would be a great error as these houses could easily be built elsewhere.