The decision by South Tyneside Council to build luxury townhouses despite a 750 name petition opposing it demonstrates precisely why UKIP would offer local referenda on such controversial issues.
The go-ahead for the homes in Whitburn has been given even though three environmental groups also raised objections to the scheme.
We believe that the views of local people are paramount and this is a classic example of when we would allow for a binding local referendum which would be triggered by the signatures of 5 per cent of electors within a planning authority area collected within three months.
We all know that generally more homes are needed, fuelled by uncontrolled immigration, but they should be of sympathetic design to the area involved.
Meanwhile any incursions into our precious greenbelt land, wherever in the country, must be resisted and a national register of brownfield sites (as pledged in UKIP’s manifesto) would be an excellent alternative to begin meeting our housing need without concreting over our greenbelt.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East