Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dispute between Lugano and Council Chief Goes On

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dispute between Lugano and Council Chief Goes On

Article excerpt

Byline: BEN O'CONNELL Reporter

THE chairman of a development company involved in a long-running dispute with Northumberland County Council has continued on the offensive against the authority's leader.

Lugano has launched a PS10m High Court claim against the council, leader Coun Peter Jackson, cabinet member for planning Coun John Riddle and chief executive Daljit Lally over how its Dissington Garden Village proposals - for up to 2,000 homes and other facilities near Ponteland - have been handled. The scheme had been backed by the council's previous Labour administration and received a minded-to-approve resolution, but it is now being reassessed in light of the withdrawal of the previous core strategy by the Conservative administration, who won power at last May's elections.

The council has repeatedly said that it has acted reasonably and lawfully, and that it continues to work with Lugano on its live planning application.

Last month, the chairman of Newcastle-based property company, Richard Robson, lambasted Coun Peter Jackson for "hypocrisy" over comments he made at an event for the new North of Tyne Combined Authority around "communities of inspiring places, homes and spaces to support more sustainable, lowcarbon futures where people want to live, work and visit".

Reacting to that criticism, Coun Jackson said: "Richard Robson has a clear personal interest at play here, acting as the front man for a shady foreign-owned company with a current application to concrete over hundreds of acres of valued greenbelt land with all kinds of implications for local people."

But Mr Robson, who has a localauthority background and previously worked for Northumberland County Council, has hit back at these comments, which he says amount to a personal attack.

He also criticised Coun Jackson's "misleading and inaccurate spin" on the Dissington proposals, adding that he is putting taxpayers' money at risk. …

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