Call for Labour to Put Newcastle First & Get a Better Deal with Gateshead
Newcastle’s only independent political party has today called on Labour controlled Newcastle City Council to force Gateshead Council to take its share of new houses. Gateshead is retaining its green spaces while Newcastle sees its greenbelt threatened.
The Newcastle upon Tyne Community First Party argues that while Gateshead Council covers an area that is 20% larger than Newcastle it has fewer houses and that, instead of redressing the balance, the joint Newcastle and Gateshead One Core Strategy will result in more houses being built in Newcastle than in Gateshead.
At 55 square miles, Gateshead Council covers an area that is 20% larger than Newcastle City Council. The 2001 census figures show that Newcastle has 27,029 more households than Gateshead and in the combined Newcastle and Gateshead area, 56.9% of households are in Newcastle and 58.3% of the new properties will be built in Newcastle.
Party leader Jason Smith said: “While we do not think a joint strategy between two of the councils that make up the Greater Newcastle upon Tyne is necessary, it should have provided an opportunity to rebalance the population of Greater Newcastle. However, this strategy does not do that; it leaves Newcastle carrying a greater burden of the proposed increase in population than Gateshead.
“We believe Gateshead should be pulling its weight in this partnership and it is clear that Gateshead is retaining significant amounts of green space whilst Newcastle sees its greenbelt threatened. This is not acceptable.
“If the plans go ahead, it seems the Labour council in Gateshead will be protecting green spaces, while Labour in Newcastle kill off our villages by joining them to urban sprawl. The One Core Strategy demonstrates very clearly that Labour are failing to put Newcastle first.
Jason Smith also attacked the attempt by the council to rebrand the city as NewcastleGateshead accusing the two councils of disregarding their 1000 year proud histories. Jason added: “This development blueprint attempts to rebrand Newcastle upon Tyne as NewcastleGateshead. This new name suggests an equal partnership between the regional capital and a town aspiring to be a city. However, as Newcastle has 44.4% of the combined land of the two councils and 57.6% of the population, this is not a partnership of equals.
“Unless Gateshead is prepared to pull its weight by taking more of the houses, I call on Labour in Newcastle to end its obsession with NewcastleGateshead and move ahead with a separate strategy that puts the needs of Newcastle first.”