Just what has changed with this planning application?

I WOULD like to thank Mr Stillaway from West Monkseaton for his letter (News Guardian, February 9) in doing the council’s job in bringing me up to date with the proposed housing development adjacent to the A192 Earsdon Road.

Having been an active opponent of this development I am left disappointed at the lack of communication received from the council and I am now becoming totally confused as to what is meant by meaningful consultation and how this process actually works.

So far the process appears to have been:

1) The council outlines the proposals for the housing development and invites comments from those in favour and from those opposed to the development;

2) Individuals and groups write and contact the council with their concerns and these are put up on a public website without any response being sent to the author from the council in acknowledgement of the objections;

3) The planning application is made and is initially declined due to the opposition made and the actions of councillors opposing the application – and representing their constituent’s views;

4) The appellant then has the right to appeal and any representation from those opposed has to be made at a meeting held on a week day during normal working hours, making it very difficult for those people who work to attend. Anyone planning to object also has to make their objections known prior to the meeting, presumably to allow the appropriate answer to be agreed;

5) The application has now been upheld, however, there is no opportunity for any appeal to be made to counter this decision made by the independent planning inspector whose views should be neutral but is not necessarily familiar with the location or the needs of this community.

It would be interesting to find out what has significantly changed since the initial application, as the reasons given are not acceptable and were no different to the original supporting reasons made prior to the proposal being declined.

I wrote to the News Guardian when this development was first muted and concur with Mr Stillaway’s comments about the absurdity of the appellant’s experts in making their case.

The A192 is already heavily over-congested.

The people living on this new development will obviously use their cars (possibly 300-plus) to go to work, school, the supermarket and even to get them to the ‘adequate’ public transport – and to say they won’t is make believe.

The school places are not available in the area for what could be 200-plus children as Whitley Bay High School is already heavily oversubscribed.

And there are not the doctors or health services available within the immediate area for another 500-plus people.

To add more frustration and confusion to the planning permission, which appears to have been granted for this site, is in another communication sent from North Tyneside Council identifying a further six sites for the development of a further 200 houses.

How many people do the council believe need to be housed in the borough?

I would welcome the council to be open and explain what is the real reason for the sudden change of heart in granting planning permission?

It can’t be down to the weak and below par argument put forward by the appellant’s experts. Surely.

IAN BURKE

South Wellfield