Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Farcical Start to Public Inquiry

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Farcical Start to Public Inquiry

Article excerpt

YESTERDAY'S inquiry was carried out in almost farcical conditions as technical problems played havoc with proceedings.

The start of the inquiry was delayed as members of the public at the back of Northumberland Hall could not hear the opening statements due to the poor sound quality.

Following a two-hour adjournment, the inquiry reconvened with the two loudspeakers moved closer to the public seats.

But the people occupying those seats still strained to hear, and at points even the parties represented struggled to understand each others' questions.

A number of people said it was not the first time such problems has been experienced at the hall, which is a regular venue for inquiries, with the high ceilings contributing to the poor acoustics.

Speaking during the proceedings, Paul Tucker said: "It is something we need to sort out before this inquiry goes much further."

Planning inspector Alan Novitzky agreed, adding: "I am aware of the difficulties and we are trying to resolve them. …

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