Elizabeth Landmark: Appeal lodged by team behind proposed 180ft Northumberland structure

An appeal has been lodged over plans for a 180-feet tall landmark on the Northumberland skyline.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 1:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 10:46 am
An artist's impression of the proposed Elizabeth landmark.

The application was refused by Northumberland County Council last summer but an appeal has now been lodged with the Planning Inspectorate.

Artist Simon Hitchens and Viscount Devonport want to create Ascendant: The Elizabeth Landmark as part of an ambitious plan to create a heritage destination at Cold Law, near Kirkwhelpington.

They say the 55m structure will drive cultural tourism and give visitors even more of a reason to visit Northumberland, pointing to the estimated 8,000 visitors per week to the Angel of the North as a local example.

They also say it will complement the growing arts, heritage and cultural landscape of Northumberland.

Ideas for the landmark were unveiled in 2018, with Lord Devonport, the owner of the Ray Estate where the landmark would be sited, selecting acclaimed artist Simon Hitchens to develop it.

Mr Hitchens said: “It is a piece of land art, really, and I hope it will be judged on those terms.”

He says he has been heavily inspired by local heritage and history in his design, with Sir Charles Parsons and Lord Armstrong being prominent influences.

The proposed landmark itself echoes that of a turbine blade conceived by Parsons, whose steam turbine engine went on to transform economies across the world.

If successful in its appeal, the landmark will also incorporate a walking trail through Cold Law, viewing all of the layers of rock formations that show the passing of geological time.

It had been recommended for approval by council planners but was refused on a 13-3 vote by the strategic planning committee on July 2.

At the time, council officers said the scheme would be ‘an unusual feature and point of interest’ which adds value to what the county can offer visitors and will ‘contribute directly to ambitions for sustained growth in our economy’.

As part of the original planning application, the county ecologist, county archaeologist, Northumberland National Park and Historic England were all consulted and had no objections.

However, following a site visit members felt it was an inappropriate location for the structure.