PROTESTORS have picketed outside an international climate change conference to voice their anger about plans to concrete over beauty spots.
A woodland has been earmarked for a housing estate, and a lake could be turned into a hotel, under proposals put forward by Middlesbrough Council.
Delegates arriving at the second climate change conference in the town yesterday were met by more than 30 protestors chanting slogans and waving banners.
Craig Hornby, a film-maker who has made short documentaries about Longridge Woods, also known as Site 44, and the lake in Centre Square East, rallied the crowd with a loudspeaker.
He said: “The council is robbing its people of its green spaces. Why would an authority which achieved beacon status for tackling climate change want to destroy a community?”
The council’s plans for longterm regeneration recently won the backing of an independent inspector.
Longridge Woods, with more than 500 trees, has been targeted for housing since the Seventies.
Chris Hobson, councillor for the Marton ward, said campaigners would not give up the fight to save the woodland.
He said: “It is enjoyed by young and old and is on our doorstep. Children cried when the bulldozers moved in.”
A council spokesman said: “Centre Square East provides the perfect opportunity to add a commercial component to the town centre economy, and will be critical to keeping the town centre competitive
and able to continue to attract inward investment.”
He added that any amenities removed in Centre Square East would be replaced elsewhere in the town.
He said: “If climate change is about anything it is about balance, and it should be remembered that we are in the process of planting some 10,000 trees and shrubs to form a new tree belt at Newham
Grange Leisure Farm.”