September 27, 2008

Planning Wrangle Blow for Councilor ; Man Fails in Appeals About His Authority

By Brian Daniel

A NORTH council's planning chairman who took his own authority to appeal over his application has lost.

Brian Douglas asked the planning inspectorate to determine two applications after Berwick Borough Council failed to decide them within the timeframe.

Now, however, a planning inspector has ruled that both his proposals should be rejected.

Coun Douglas, who chairs the council's planning committee, is considering asking the authority to buy the land from him - having also failed with an application for the site last year.

His latest applications were for listed building consent and planning permission for the demolition of a storage yard at Mill Strand, Tweedmouth, Berwick, and the construction of five homes.

Coun Douglas owns the land but lodged the plans in the name of his grandson Simon Eltringham.

The proposals were submitted to the borough council in January.

However, no decisions had been made by May, despite planning guidelines requiring councils to determine applications in eight weeks.

Coun Douglas subsequently appealed both applications on the grounds of non-determination.

But following a site visit earlier this month, inspector Wenda Fabian opted to refuse the plans stating they would harm the character and appearance of Tweed-mouth Conservation Area and the living conditions for future residents.

Last night, Coun Douglas expressed disappointment, with the council having indicated support for the scheme before failing to make a decision in time.

He is considering serving a purchase notice on the authority, asking it to buy his land, on the basis that he has twice been refused planning permission and has received no suggestions of alternative uses.

He said: "I have to consider whether I serve a purchase notice on the council. Unfortunately that is the position the council has put us in simply because they did not make a decision in time."

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