CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 400 homes on greenbelt land in Ponteland have been withdrawn.

Banks Property has pulled out of its West Clickemin Farm development which was due to be the subject of a public inquiry early next year.

The development, which included a mix of two, three, four and five bedroom homes on land south east of Ponteland town centre, received planning permission from Northumberland County Council in March last year.

But it was later called in by former Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid.

Justin Hancock, principal development planner at Banks Property, said: “Throughout this process, we worked closely with Northumberland County Council’s planning officers on all aspects of the project, and especially on securing a significant contribution that the scheme would make towards enhancing the educational facilities available to families in and around Ponteland.

“The council’s newly-reached opinion that no private sector funding is required has undermined the current case for development at West Clickemin Farm.

“It is highly regrettable that after so many years’ work, we therefore find ourselves having to withdraw these carefully planned and sensibly-sited proposals.”

Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman said: “I welcome this decision as the right thing for Ponteland. We have said from day one our campaign has not been against homes, but about protecting the greenbelt.

“There were always clear and objective planning grounds on which this application to build on the Ponteland greenbelt should not have gone ahead. I am very pleased our arguments have been listened to.”