CPRE Northumberland

Skip to navigation

Changes in planning application procedures

County Hall County Hall Colin Adsley

Concerns have been raised over the changes to the handling of new planning applications by Northumberland County Council. Designed to streamline the process and speed up through-put, they could seriously weaken accountability and reduce the opportunities for democratic representation.

Among the key issues are:

  • where local groups (such as town or parish councils) disagree with planning officers' recommendations, referral to committee is no longer automatic;
  • the automatic trigger of a set number of letters of objection requiring a referral to committee is to be discontinued;
  • local, area-specific committees (more in touch with local feeling) are to be replaced by a small number of county-wide committees;
  • committee meetings, previously scheduled to take place at 6 pm, are to be held at 2 pm, a time when many people will find it more difficult to attend them.

CPRE Northumberland has serious reservations about these changes. They open the door to a more hurried, less considered form of decision-making. Public awareness of developments which local communities may live to regret needs time to build.

Thorough consultation, a full response to local concerns and the involvement of communities in the decision-making process are equally important principles in handling planning applications - but these changes appear to disregard them.   

join us

Back to top