Hundreds sign petition to save Blackie park from threat of development
By Martin Haswell
Hundreds of residents across Ford Estate and Pennywell have signed a petition to save the Blackie Park which is under threat of development by Gentoo for new houses.
Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners in Ford Estate and Pennywell in Sunderland have been running a campaign to save the local Blackie Park from the threat of housing development.
Over 350 signatures were collected as part of a petition calling on Gentoo Group to commit not to build houses on the park and invest in new play equipment for local children.
Local Lib Dems Martin Haswell, George Smith and Colin Nicholson launched the campaign following confirmation by Gentoo Group representatives that the Blackie Park was under consideration for housing development as part of the group's target to build hundreds of new affordable rental properties.
Along with local residents group Communities Together West, the local Lib Dem team offered recommendations of other patches of land around the area suitable for development in order to save the park but received no reassurance from Gentoo. A petition has now followed and has received a great deal of support from the local community.
Gentoo have responded to the petition saying "Gentoo has no immediate plans to build new homes on the site".
Commenting, Pallion and Ford Estate councillor Martin Haswell said:
"The sheer number of responses we've received to the petition goes to show that the local community want to save the local park and see investment by Gentoo in new play equipment for young children in the area.
"Gentoo need to listen to the voices of local residents and commit to the long term future of the park rather than offer a short term assurance. Along with local residents and residents' groups, we've proactively highlighted patches of land owned by Gentoo and others in which would offer the chance to build new homes and avoid building on a local park."
The short term reprieve offered by Gentoo comes as a planning application has been submitted by Gentoo to build on the Ford Oval in nearby South Hylton and elsewhere in the city.