A BID for an opencast mining site on the edge of Tranwell Woods has been delayed for a site visit.
Councillors are to visit the proposed site at Bets Lane, which may become a planning battlefield in the countryside between Morpeth and Stannington.
County Durham-based company Hargreaves Services wants to spend two-and-a-half years extracting 130,000 tonnes of coal from the area..
But the 74-acre site at Well Hill Farm is used for sheep grazing and bordered by farmland and Tranwell Woods, as well as being a site of nature conservation importance.
And some local people are predicting a conflict over the effect on the countryside and traffic.
However, an environmental impact report commissioned by Hargreaves says the site is of relatively low sensitivity. The company says the site would be enhanced when it was restored after mining.
Members of Northumberland County Council’s Planning and Environment Committee on Tuesday agreed to visit the site before making a decision on the application.