Inspector Backs Council Plan

The Inspector’s preliminary findings were released by the Council on Monday and three year’s of campaign work disappeared down the drain! On almost all key points he found in favour of the Council’s proposals.

The overall Spatial Strategy (policy CS1) is sound. The scale of new homes, jobs and employment land are justified by the evidence. The distribution of this scale of development, including the Councils’ proposals to develop on Green Belt land, is broadly supported subject to the detailed points below. Continue reading

Waiting Nervously

Two weeks ago today we attended the final day of the Examination in Public. Inspector Martin Pike reconvened the hearings at Gateshead Civic Offices for one day in order to take new evidence that has arisen since the hearings in July.  Discussion centred around the delivery of the extensions to Great Park and associated proposals for the airport link road from the A696 to the A1. Agreements have finally been reached between developers with competing interests, although the planners did admit that the airport link road has yet to be funded and is unlikely to be constructed until around 2020.

Before the session ended, the inspector listened to opinion on recent changes to planning guidance announced by government at the beginning of October. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles explained the changes saying: Continue reading

Reflections on the Examination

The Examination in Public stretched over 5 weeks this summer.  Three months have passed since it finished, giving us time to reflect on the whole process. Our campaign group put a lot of time and effort into the preparation of our evidence.  Thanks to the generous donations from supporters, we were able to enhance our arguments with the help of planning consultant Hugh Lufton.

The Inspector was scrupulous in allowing everyone’s voice to be heard and campaign groups certainly had their share of attention. The examination was ‘inquisitorial’, and the Inspector’s aim was to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the One Core Strategy. However, due to the tight programme, the Inspector wouldn’t allow any detailed cross-examination.  It was frustrating to raise questions which were left unanswered. Continue reading