DETERMINED residents are stepping up their efforts to oppose a controversial housing plan as the end of a consultation period draws near.
Proposals from Darlington Borough Council to build more than 6,000 houses in the town by 2026 have attracted scores of objections.
Community groups, neighbourhoods and individuals have reacted with concern to the council’s Making and Growing Places plan, which would see green spaces throughout the town used for housing.
Hundreds of people have attended recent consultation events to have their say on the proposals with many lobbying the council and the town’s MP Jenny Chapman in a bid to halt development on sites including Bellburn Lane Field and the Cocker Beck conservation area.
Jan Needham, from the Friends of Cocker Beck group, is encouraging residents to get involved in the consultation process, which is being held to garner views on a revised draft policy drawn up following an initial consultation held last year.
Ms Needham said: “There are a number of concerning things, from the loss of public amenities and recreational spaces to the effect on wildlife and the risk of flooding.
“It’s important to take an interest in this and be active and it doesn’t hurt to act together. The council are asking people what they think and it’s important to tell them while there’s a chance.”
Recently, hundreds of protestors descended upon Bellburn Lane field to actively oppose plans to build 50 homes there.
Several activists from the Save Bellburn Lane Field Facebook group have lobbied Darlington MP Jenny Chapman.
Mrs Chapman said: “Undoubtedly the plans are controversial. The town needs more homes but the plans need to be considered very carefully with respect for existing developments.
“What I think matters most is that residents get to take part in a process that is respectful of their views.
“I am working to make sure the decision makers are aware of the strength of feeling in the community and the reasons behind that.”
Further consultation events will be held at Darlington Outdoor Market on Saturday, July 28 from 10am until 2pm and at Gurney Pease Academy on Monday, June 30 from 5pm until 7pm.
A spokeswoman from Darlington Borough Council said: “We would encourage anyone who has questions or suggestions to come along to our consultation drop-in events and let us know what they think.”