Concerns have been raised about the number of made-up comments which are being submitted to argue for or against planning applications – with cases of dead people’s details being used.
Coun Scott Dickinson, who is chairman of planning on the newly-formed Castle Morpeth Local Area Council, believes there is an ever-increasing trend of fraudulent representations being made.
Earlier this year, a number of false objection letters were submitted as part of a controversial application at the Signal Cottage site in Amble, to build a house and holiday lets.
And Coun Dickinson believes this is becoming an all-too-regular occurrence. He said: “I am disappointed to see so many fraudulent objections being detected by the council’s fraud team in relation to planning. In some cases, I am aware of objectors using the names/addresses of people who have died to make false comments.
“I’m happy for people to object to whatever they like, but to put in fake objections to try to make your argument stronger is sad and traumatic for those whose addresses have been falsely used.”
He believes a more structured approach is needed in relation to submitting comments on applications.
A county-council spokeswoman said: “Where we are made aware of a possible fraudulent objection, we would investigate it and remove it from the planning process, if it was proven to be false.”