Northumberland County Council has been given the go-ahead for a car-park extension near its Morpeth HQ – more than six months after it was built.
The authority’s strategic planning committee unanimously approved the extra spaces at Merley Croft, which are required for overflow parking since County Hall lost its current facility by the former fire station, where the new first school is being built.
The application sought permission for an overflow car park for council staff and visitors on the site of the former Northumberland Care Trust building that was demolished in April 2017.
The works, which took place in July last year, have provided an additional 67 spaces on top of the 56 that previously existed.
At the meeting on Tuesday (February 6), Coun Jeff Reid asked why it was retrospective, particularly in light of members’ concerns over a developer ignoring planning conditions on another application discussed that afternoon.
Planning officer Judith Murphy said that she believed it was a timing issue, in that there was an urgent need for the extra spaces when the previous car park was lost, and it was later highlighted that the law allows for retrospective applications and they should not be treated differently.
But Coun Reid said: “If we are trying to get organisations to obey the rules, then we should obey the rules. Timing issue? I don’t care. We should have put the application in before we did it.”
The application form indicated that the use is required for a period of three years.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service