RESIDENTS opposed to plans to build hundreds of houses on open land in Cramlington are looking to halt progress by getting the site classified as a village green.
Residents formed the protest group Cramlington SOS (Save Our Space) to oppose the development, on land to the north of Station Road, in March.
Pat Heard, the group’s founder, said: “For some months, we have been researching the various options available to the residents to protect and preserve this area.
“Sample evidence collection has clearly demonstrated that the requirements of the 2006 Commons Act for registering the land as a village green should be achievable.
“We have now formally launched the Friends of Cramlington Village Green to complete the registration process.
“It is our belief that registration as a village green is the best way to protect this much-valued recreational open space.”
The campaigners are now preparing an application to secure village green status, a move they hope will halt plans by Persimmon and Bellway Homes to build up to 600 houses on the land.
Bellway and Persimmon have been working with Cramlington Town Council on a planning application for the land, earmarked for housing for decades, but more than 500 people have signed a Cramlington SOS petition opposing the proposals.
Pat added: “If we are successful in having it declared a village green, it can never be developed and is protected for ever.
“At the moment, we are busy delivering and collecting evidence forms, but the response and support has been fantastic. We hope to have the formal application submitted by the middle of July, so it’s moving along nicely.”
Peter Jordan, Persimmon’s planning and project director, said: “It is very disappointing.
“Village green legislation is not intended for the purposes of seeking to prevent sustainable development from occurring.
“Clearly, we will need to see the case that is put forward and the evidence that backs this up.”