Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Developer Wants Homes Appeal Heard in Public

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Developer Wants Homes Appeal Heard in Public

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel Reporter

ABATTLE over controversial plans to build homes on green belt is to be resurrected after the developer appealed.

Lugano has confirmed it has lodged a formal challenge against Northumberland County Council's decision to refuse planning permission for its 280 homes on farmland at Ponteland.

The developer last night revealed it had requested the appeal be heard at a public inquiry.

Lugano had been seeking outline planning permission for the development at Birney Hill Farm, with the proposal covering the demolition of some buildings, plus provision of office, retail, educational or community facilities and a community farm. However, 4,310 letters of opposition were submitted to Northumberland County Council in opposition. Newcastle International Airport, the Environment Agency, the county council's strategic housing, conservation, public protection and flood management departments, also objected, while the council was sent 487 letters of support.

Planning officers recommended the scheme be refused, claiming it would "represent inappropriate development in the green belt".

The authority's west area committee unanimously voted to refuse the application at a meeting in October, to the delight of residents.

During the meeting councillors raised issues over surface water and increased flood risk, problems with Newcastle Airport, as well as the risks of the site being a foot-and-mouth burial ground. At the time, the company indicated that it would be appealing.

It has now submitted its challenge and confirmed it is seeking a public inquiry.

Company planning director Scott Munro said: "The appeal has been lodged, it will have to follow through its course. We will have to wait for the planning inspectorate organisation to decide the timeframe for the appeal.

"Everything will come out through the process of the inquiry we are requesting."

Mr Munro said it was a decision for the planning inspectorate whether an inquiry would take place.

Opponents of the scheme said they were ready to do battle again.

Peter Jackson, county councillor for Ponteland South with Heddon, said: "Make no mistake, I will fight this proposed development at Birney Hill all the way. …

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