Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Decision expected soon on Birney Hill

We are nearing D-day for the decision on
Birney Hill.

When Lugano were fighting for this development their argument was very clear, that because the County Council had failed to adopt local planning policies, their development should be given the go ahead. As we all know, Northumberland County Council has indeed failed to put together its local development plan, essentially allowing a possible planning free for all. I am deeply concerned the Council have left our Greenbelt exposed.

A decision on the application from the Planning Inspector is due in late June / early July after a planning hearing in January, at which I spoke against the application.

Figures show that Northumberland County Council was one of just 62 out of 318 councils who have yet to submit a local plan - it's key planning document for the next 15 years – putting it in the bottom 20% of all Council.

126 Local Authorities have already submitted their plans for examination.

I remain very hopeful that Lugano’s appeal will be thrown out by the Planning Inspectorate. There are very clear and objective planning grounds on which their application to build on the Ponteland greenbelt should be rejected. However there is no question the County Council has left our greenbelt very exposed with it's failure to complete it's Local Plan. The position they have left us in, effectively the worst 20% in the country, is simply not acceptable. The Council's failure has put out greenbelt at real risk.

It is estimated once a local plan is submitted it can take up to 15 months before it it is approved and able to be adopted.Northumberland County Council is not expected to submit their local plan for inspection until March 2016 at the earliest.

Northumberland County Council is currently hoping to have it's Local Plan adopted in Autumn 2016, more than 5 years after the policy was introduced in the Localism Act of 2011.

Newcastle and Gateshead Council's had their Local Plans adopted in March 2015. Durham County Council submitted it's Local Plan for inspection in April 2014, some two years ahead of Northumberland.