The long campaign to preserve the green belt around Ponteland, Hexham and other parts of Northumberland has occupied a huge amount of my time as the MP this last 7 years.
Our struggle to prevent the Birney Hill green belt site, seperating Ponteland from Newcastle, is documented in repeated posts on this blog, culminating in the final decision in summer 2015 here:
and here: http://www.thejournal.co.uk/north-east-analysis/analysis-news/hexham-mp-guy-opperman-green-8455522
Since then there have been multiple applications locally in Ponteland, and a disastrous application to knock down the County Hall site in Morpeth and build houses on it, so the Council can build a new £80m HQ to Ashington. I have repeatedly met local campaigners, along with local councillors and have watched the Morpeth application any local support. The disastrous plan was probably best summed up by the decision to cut down prized local trees in Morpeth. The Daily Mail covered the story here:
This week the County Council approved further housing applications in Ponteland. I could not be present as I was in Westminster. However, local Ponteland town and County Councillors, along with many local campaigners, did attend and rightly made their feelings very clear. Given the impact on the Greenbelt, and the pressure on public services, I simply could not support these proposals. It is to be hoped that the Secretary of State calls in the many Ponteland applications. My views and the views of the local county and town councillors have not changed.