My immediate reaction is that Mr Hill has no understanding of what an open space is and considers an open space an excuse to create more housing.
He mentions that Cramlington has a number of green spaces within and around housing estates where people use for recreational purposes; the majority of these spaces are relatively small in comparison to the area of land north of station road.
These small areas of green grass can and continue to be used by residents surrounding these spaces but fall dramatically short of providing space for wildlife and more energetic outdoor activities, for example it was only recently that I saw a horse being exercised on the kept land north of Station Road, now I appreciate that not all residents have a horse at their disposable but many other activities require space, for example – football, cricket, kite flying, dog exercising etc.
Mr Hill talks about agreements being made between developers and councils looking after privately owned land some 50 years ago, which has been the case on the land in question.
Time has moved on and councils are strapped for cash and can do without looking after private land, so laws should be passed to make it the responsibility of the landowner to tend their land and if access is not allowed it should be fenced off.
The application for village green status is based upon the land being used for recreational purposes by the ‘community’ for over 20 years, which in this example is the case.
Is this the best way to spend rate payers money in these times of restraint? For example the county council having to consider selling its headquarters in Morpeth to save money.
The reason I would suggest that the land in question in his words is “the area is a mess and the hedgerows look 300-years-old” is because it is privately owned and if this land had been looked after by the landowners Lee/Bell Homes that it may look a lot better than it is.
By the way, the hedgerows are over 300-years-old. Who has left the hawthorn bushes to proliferate in a unchecked manner, the landowners, who don’t give a hoot what the area looks like and have left it unkept for over 40 years, in that time the land has been used extensively by people in the surrounding areas for all sorts or outdoor activities.
As I mentioned in my last letter, there are at any one time up to 300 homes for sale in Cramlington and the need for more is not justified.
There have been no reports of illicit activities from the police or to my knowledge no complaints from residents adjacent to this area as far as top shelf magazines are concerned ‘boys will be boys’ and that’s life, get on with it.
Reading on through Mr Hill’s letter, he has the opinion that all types of animal life need to be either extinguished or moved on. Does he suggest that suburbia in most areas are a no go area for animals?
We as humans have continued to take over animal habitas and it’s time we found other alternatives to building huge towns as Cramlington has become.
Respect the areas you live in and appreciate the need to live alongside wildlife and enjoy what that brings.
It is mentioned careful retention of hedgerows alongside of homes would still provide cover and food for birds. Has he seen the proposed plans? As these hedgerows spread across the whole area of land and I would suggest that bulldozers would not show any respect for them.
He mentions that subsidence has been dealt with successfully in Cramlington. Has he visited Eastfield and seen the boarded up homes due to this issue and the pumping stations that are required to alleviate stythe gas which actually kills people?
He understands that there are primary school places available in Cramlington, well the school nearest the land which is Shanklea School presently has no spaces and continues to use Portacabins as a solution to being overcrowded.
As mentioned in my previous letter, the county council has no immediate plans to increase schools or build new ones he suggests would be funded by the extra homes rates.
If, for argument, a free school was allowed, where would he suggest we put it? On another green grass area?
He also mentions plans to expand health care and a new purpose-built facility is going to be built within the new hospital.This facility is only being created by closing down the existing Brockwell Medical centre because it’s too small now.
If these 600 homes are built I tend to think that facility would still struggle to cope with extra patients.
There are several doctors’ practises in Cramlington suffering with the same complaint – no room for any more patients.
He mentions that Cramlington a vibrant new town with excellent facilities and needs to be the vanguard of growth? Well could he write a letter to the county council and tell them that Cramlington and surrounding areas are grinding to a halt with traffic congestion and lack of parking.
Has he been to Manor Walks on a Saturday for shopping and tried to get parked? I have lived in Cramlington for 40 years and we go shopping in Ashington or Killingworth because of the lack of parking spaces in Cramlington unless we just need a few items then we walk to the shops.
There are a lot of residents in Cramlington that have lived here since the town was created but have high reservations about the way it has developed, and to bring another 600 homes would be madness in the extreme.
Look at the bigger picture. Create the infrastructure first before expanding Cramlington and remember people need space to enjoy their social time.