Newcastle Great Park homes plan backed again by council
Plans to build a further 1,200 homes at a site in Newcastle have been approved despite opposition.
Formal planning permission for the expansion of Great Park has been issued by the city council and the scheme will also include the construction of two schools.
Developers argue the properties are "critical" in order to meet the city's housing needs.
Opponents warn they will devastate wildlife habitats.
The application was first approved by councillors in December 2018, but a legal challenge by Save Newcastle's Wildlife and the introduction of new national planning rules led to delays.
The council and developers Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey have now signed a legal agreement triggering the formal planning permission, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
Councillor Linda Hobson, cabinet member for housing, said the scheme was "imperative" to provide new homes in the city.
She added the authority was confident it had followed a "robust process" and that the decision was "lawfully made".
Persimmon said it had worked to minimise the impact on biodiversity and a package of measures had been agreed with Natural England.
Save Newcastle Wildlife called the verdict "unjust" and said it aimed to raise £3,500 towards the legal costs of applying for a judicial review.
The group's Rachel Locke also criticised the council and housebuilders for failing to deliver promised amenities such as shops despite work at the site getting under way in 2001.
She said it had left "many residents having to drive to pick up a pint of milk or a packet of crisps" and warned that contributed to air pollution.
If a judicial review is to be launched, an application must be lodged in the next six weeks.