Anger over lack of control

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

A retrospective application in Pegswood sparked anger from councillors at the seeming lack of control over those playing the planning process.

It concerned a mid-terrace house, 20 Warkworth Drive, for which retrospective permission was sought for a two-storey extension, after an extension was approved, but the plans ignored during the construction.

Coun Ian Swithenbank told members of Northumberland County Council’s planning and rights of way committee: “I won’t talk about what planning permission is worth and I won’t talk about the difficulty of enforcement, but if you put these plans before me originally I wouldn’t accept them and I won’t now to get the planning department off the hook.

“I have never seen so much twisting and turning from the planning officers on the top table.”

It was explained to members that retrospective applications were a legitimate part of the planning process and there were no planning reasons to refuse this scheme, whether it was retrospective or not.

Coun Andrew Tebbutt said: “I think this is a situation where the council should stand up and say that’s not acceptable, knock it down and build it again.”

But Coun John Riddle said that the planning officers had concluded it was ‘above the bar, if not perfect’, adding: “If we refuse this, we will be on a very sticky wicket at appeal.”

The application was approved by eight votes to five with one abstention.