I attended the Cramlington Town Council planning committee meeting in January and witnessed what can only be described as a disgraceful spectacle.
The main item was regarding the planning application from Persimmon/Bellway for the land north of Station Road in Cramlington, land that they have owned for many years but only now decided to develop.
Following a brief outline of the plans by the developers’ representative the matter was open to questions by the councillors on the committee, after it was made clear that the public, of which there were many, had no right to speak at the meeting.
There were a number of questions from Conservative councillor, John Collins, centring on safety concerns of the ongoing stythe gas issues, and also the claimed need for more retail units when there are empty premises in Cramlington as it is.
Questions moved to the majority Labour members, one of whom represents the ward concerned, and centred around the type of properties to be built, congestion, and where the ‘section 106’ money – funding paid to the council from developers – would be paid.
The result was that the committee voted in favour of supporting the planning application ‘by majority’.
Despite the public pointing out that they were supposed to be elected representatives of the people, and that the people did not want this.
Despite the fact that there was a room full of members of the public who opposed this (I did not see any public support in this room).
Despite the growing petition, and despite the Labour councillors previously stating at election time that they would ‘back our local communities to protect local green spaces’.
They voted in favour of the land being developed for profit instead, and ignored what the people want, and common sense.