PLANNING: Confused by the process

It’s a very true saying that “a good product requires no advertising”. So to say that I am bemused by the behaviour of Mitford Estates and its developer is something of an understatement.

These people wish to inflict yet more houses and significant commercial activity on an area designated as “safeguarded” by the Neighbourhood Plan, west of Lancaster Park.

I am also very confused by the “totally fair and transparent” system used by Northumberland County Council to ensure proper consultation in these matters. I really do hope that some Herald reader can throw some light on this for me.

The application, which was refused first time round, vaguely promises 200 jobs, much needed housing, a tourism boost and a country park whilst having no impact whatever on local services, town centre commerce, traffic volume and river levels. If it’s that good why would anyone not want it?

Letters of support have arrived at the planning department after the closing date for submission. The official letter of notification, essential in all planning applications, clearly stated that the final date for comment was February 11. All of these letters of support arrived after this date.

What is even stranger is that they have originated from far and wide. They come from individuals located where there can be no benefit from the development.

Further, and this is where the process begins to look unfair, none of these people will have been notified officially. How did they know where to send their letters and to what deadline?

Moreover, it is grossly unfair of Northumberland County Council to inform the many severely affected local residents that there is a hard and fast closing date for comment whilst accepting letters later.

Dr Colin Coates

Morpeth