Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Plans Shelved as Damages Sought

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Plans Shelved as Damages Sought

Article excerpt

Byline: BEN O'CONNELL Reporter

A CONTROVERSIAL application for 2,000 homes in Northumberland, the source of a legal dispute between the developer and the local council, has been withdrawn.

The plans for Dissington Garden Village had been earmarked to go back before Northumberland County Council's strategic planning committee for another decision next Tuesday.

However, it has now been revealed that the scheme has been withdrawn by the applicant, Newcastlebased Lugano, which previously had a minded-to-approve resolution for its proposals for the 'exemplar' scheme of homes and other facilities near Ponteland. But the company is continuing with its High Court action, seeking at least PS10m of damages for the way the application has been handled by the council since the Conservative administration took power in May 2017, and says it will resubmit the plans.

Lugano's claim is against council leader Peter Jackson, cabinet member for planning John Riddle and chief executive Daljit Lally, as well as the local authority itself.

The company's case is that the trio have acted improperly and unlawfully in relation to its planning application, with the actions causing Lugano a serious financial loss.

The defence on behalf of the trio says that "the allegations of bad faith made against them are vexatious and without foundation", while the council's defence says that the claim against the authority "is one that is bound to fail at any event".

A statement this week from Lugano said: "The planning application for Dissington Garden Village has been withdrawn.

"In a letter to the council, the company's professional advisors express serious concern over the council's apparent reversal of position over the past months, Daljit Lally despite the positive conclusions and recommendation reached on essentially the same evidence by Northumberland County Council planning officers previously. …

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