Response to council complaint

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THE Planning Inspectorate has responded to a Morpeth Town Council complaint about a controversial planning decision.

Residents of The Kylins spent years carefully negotiating a Development Brief with the former Castle Morpeth Council and the previous developer Grainger Homes before an application for new housing in the area was granted in November 2005.

But Persimmon Homes, on behalf of Charles Church North East, acquired the site and angered them by bidding to alter the original plans through ‘flipping’ houses so that they face onto The Kylins, altering parking provision and changing house types.

Although Northumberland County councillors rejected it, the application was approved by Planning Inspector Graham Snowdon.

The ruling referred to the Government’s Draft Planning Policy Framework, but Morpeth Town Council said in a letter that this was premature.

It also complained that it is unreasonable for the planning condition to make good the Kylins’ access road to be set aside.

Council taxpayers will now have to bear the cost of any repairs to the road as a result of the development even though 38 of the local residents paid for it to be installed prior to adoption just three years ago.

Aggie Lewis-Jones responded to the letter on behalf of the Planning Inspectorate’s Quality Assurance Unit. She declined to comment on the points made about the access road.

Of the other complaint, she said: “With regard to the Coalition Government’s Draft Planning Policy Framework, you are correct when you say the final content has yet to be fully agreed as the consultation process is still under way.

“However, inspectors have been advised that the document is capable of being a material consideration and the weight to be given to it will be a matter for the decision maker in each case.

“My reading of the appeal decision would suggest, therefore, that it was not inappropriate for the inspector to give some consideration to the document in his decision.”