Photographers have launched a campaign demanding councils abandon plans to build hundreds of new homes near a nature reserve in the North East.

Photographers Kaleel Zibe and Alan Hewitt have blasted as ?ill thought-out? plans by Newcastle and Gateshead councils to build up to 600 homes near Gosforth Park Nature Reserve.

?If the houses are built here, wildlife will have nowhere to go and will die,? they claim.

Campaigners say deer, badgers, hares and red squirrels are among the species under threat.

The Natural History Society of Northumbria expressed fears that fields providing ?essential foraging habitat? will be destroyed.

?Without this habitat this wildlife will be lost forever,? claims the society on its website.

The plans, announced by Gateshead Council and Newcastle City Council, are part of the ?One Core Strategy 2030? project which aims to boost the local economy.

A draft of the proposals, which are subject to consultation, states: ?Our shared vision is to provide for our increased population, anticipated to be at least 500,000 by 2030 and within this to increase our core working age population (20-64 age group) by around 9,000 from the 2010 level, to 300,400.?