Newcastle-under-Lyme green spaces to be protected

At a meeting between Newcastle Borough residents and council leaders, the new Cabinet members pledged to protect seven green spaces, owned by the council, from development.
On Thursday 31st of May, 2012 representatives of residents groups from the seven sites under threat, met three members of the Cabinet to discuss the future of the green spaces. From the Council were Leader of the Council- Cllr. Gareth Snell, Deputy Leader- Cllr. Eddie Bowden (Planning, Regeneration and Town Centre Development) and Cllr. Anne Beech (Environment and Recycling). At this meeting Gareth Snell promised that the seven sites would be protected and removed from the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA).
Cllr Snell confirmed, the council officers have been instructed by the Cabinet to remove the seven sites from the latest SHLAA. Consequently these green spaces will be excluded from the housing assessment as sites for potential development. He also confirmed it is now the council's policy to encourage the development of Brownfield sites in the Borough. The leader stated the Cabinet's position that whilst they were in power they would not develop themselves or dispose to developers the seven sites.
Asked whether the council could permanently protect the sites, Cllr Snell said the current Council could not bind any future administrations not to develop land that they owned. However they would be willing to discuss other solutions such as selling or leasing the sites to community trusts or residents cooperative groups as had been successfully done in some other boroughs.
When asked if the council would withdraw its legal objections the various village green applications, Cllr Snell said that it may not be possible to withdraw the objections that had already been submitted to the Registrar of Town and Village Greens At Staffordshire County Council. However the Cabinet had made it clear to the council officers and the Chief Executive to stop any further money being paid to the legal advisors and the QC that have been engaged on behalf of the Borough.
Representing the residents groups from the seven sites were Anthony Smith- Clayhangar Close, Anthony Farrell-Clayton Road Field, Belinda Mifflin and Janet Cheadle-Repton Drive, Callum Henderson-  Winchester Drive, Fred and Sylvia Moores -Thomas Street Talke, Kevin Sharpe - Shrewsbury Drive Chesterton and Vic Dukes - Penny Field Road Kidsgrove.