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QE II landmark proposal to be decided by planning hearing

A controversial planning application is set to be decided through a hearing run by the Planning Inspectorate, after it was turned down by Northumberland County Council last July.

The application, by Viscount Devonport, is for the construction of a publicly accessible landmark aimed at celebrating Queen Elizabeth II and the Commonwealth on land at Cold Law on the Ray Estate in the county.

The council’s strategic planning committee refused the application, concluding that it fails to recognise the intrinsic character and nature of the countryside in this location, and is contrary to both national and local planning policy.

The applicant appealed against this decision and the Planning Inspectorate has now advised  that the appeal will be considered at a planning hearing - something that the council had requested.

A Northumberland County Council spokesperson said: “We are pleased that this appeal will be considered via a hearing rather than written representations - something which the council requested and supports.

“We will be assisting the Planning Inspectorate to make the arrangements for the hearing so that it runs smoothly and in a transparent way.

“When the hearing formally starts the council will be an active participant - presenting our arguments that the Inspector should support the Council's decision to refuse the application.

“We are in the hands of The Planning Inspectorate in respect of timescales and now await further information from the Inspectorate team.

“We will be informing all parties of the arrangements for the hearing as soon as these are available.”

A planning inspector will be appointed by the Government agency, and then the hearing date and venue set, and all parties informed of the arrangements.

The planning inspector will consider the submissions from all interested parties and then arrange a round-the-table discussion.  This will be led by the inspector and will allow everyone to respond to questions that he or she may have, as well as providing an opportunity for people to make their cases.

Local residents will also be able to attend and take part in the discussion, and hearings generally conclude with a site visit.  A written decision is usually received several weeks after the hearing.

A wide range of responses to the appeal have been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate including from the council, the applicant, five local parish councils, a number of groups, organisations and individuals.  

These will all be considered by the Inspector and have also been passed back to the council to be loaded onto the planning portal.  No further comments can be made on the appeal. 
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