Monday, 28 October 2013

No News is Good News

The saying 'no news is good news' is often used when waiting for bad news.
Planners at Northumberland County Council are due to make a decision on wether to allow an opencast development close to the villages of Hedley on the Hill, Broomley and Mickley and just 150 meters away form the primary school at Whittonstall.
I wrote a while back that I was worried about this application and the impact it would have on peoples lives, tourism, and the possiblity that restoration will not be completed to sufficiently mitigate against the adverse ecological impacts. [1]
The planning officers (who work full time for the council) will recomend to the planning committee (who are made up of elected representatives) wether or not this application should be rejected or accepted.
The planning officers were due to make their reccomendaiton last week but have been unable to do so. UK Coal have submitted additional evidence, in response to concerns raised by residents, this could be one explanation for the delay.
For people  like myself,  who are campainging against, waiting for this decision is a bit like waiting for exam results. We know we have tried our best and done everything we can to put forward a strong argument that any community benefits of such a development are vastly outwaighed by the negative impacts on  health, the environment and jobs based on growing tourism in the area.
UK Coal will not accept any decision by either the planning officers or the planning committee that prevents them from digging up our landscape. We have seen with the refusal at Bradley they are willing to go to the High Court in London to try and overturn a decision that was made in County Durham. This proves that a large corporation can simply chose not to acknowledge the concepts of localism and devolved decision making. [2]

I hope that the delay in the decision is simply because the officers are making sure that their recommendation is legally sound and that all the 'i's are dotted and the 't's are crossed. I hope that they see the sense in the argument that it better for both business and leisure, if the the land is left as it is.

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