Authority wants apology from county council

Councillors are calling on officials at County Hall to say sorry after claiming they were left in the dark over a key decision.

It was recently revealed that the county council would not be proceeding with plans put forward by MKP Ponteland for the regeneration of Merton Way.

The firm unveiled its initial vision in February 2009, working to a Ponteland Community Partnership (PCP) design brief that was supported by residents, but progress stalled in recent years and the authority’s development company, Arch, will now look to bring forward a new scheme.

At a meeting of Ponteland Town Council (PTC), members agreed to write to the county council after Coun Robin Ramsay said that PTC and PCP were not informed of the decision.

He added: “It was notified to the chairman of the PCP regeneration sub group, but only after a request was made as to what was happening. To receive no official communication with regard to this matter is unacceptable.

“The action taken by Northumberland County Council and the process of communication can at the very least be considered as extremely discourteous. It could easily be regarded as a flawed process.

“As a first step, we should demand from the county council an apology for its appalling conduct.

“In addition, a meeting should be convened as soon as possible to establish what action plan is being followed and to see if we consider it suitable, particularly with regard to involvement of the community.”

Policy board member for planning, housing and regeneration at the county council, Allan Hepple, said: “We have asked Arch to work with the local community and we have written to the town council and Ponteland Community Partnership to give an update on the current situation, address their concerns and seek a convenient date for a meeting to discuss the best way forward for the future regeneration of Ponteland.”