Fresh call over opencast scheme objections

Protestors against the Highthorn opencast at Druridge Bay during the demonstration at County Hall that took place before the county planning meeting.
Protestors against the Highthorn opencast at Druridge Bay during the demonstration at County Hall that took place before the county planning meeting.
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Residents opposing a controversial scheme to build a surface mine in Northumberland are being urged to submit their objection to a national body.

In July, members of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee voted to follow the planning officers’ recommendation and approve Banks Mining’s Highthorn surface mine bid for a 325-hectare site between Druridge Bay and Widdrington Station.

At the time, members were ‘minded to approve’ the plan as a request had been made for the Secretary of State to ‘call in’ the application.

And Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, did this last month.

It means that there will now be a public inquiry chaired by a planning inspector, who will make a recommendation to Mr Javid. He can then choose to reject these recommendations if he wishes and is set to have the final word on the fate of the scheme.

As part of the process, those who wish to make a comment to the Planning Inspectorate need to do so by November 11.

The Save Druridge campaign group is raising awareness of this and a spokeswoman said: “You can submit your objection, which can include new comments, online at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk

“You can bring up the application by using the planning application reference (15/03410/CCMEIA) in the advanced search section.

“Those who wish to write out their objections and send by post need to send three copies to Leanne Palmer, The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/0, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PM.

“We are also raising money for legal representation at the public inquiry. You can send donations to a TSB Northallerton account under the name of Save Druridge – sort code 77/71/47 and account number 18009368.”