Plans for 180ft £1million Elizabeth Landmark set for approval by Northumberland County Council
Plans for a 180-foot sculpture in the Northumberland hills, which have split opinion, are back before county councillors next week.
An application for the new tourist attraction on the summit of Cold Law, north of the C195 road in the west of the county, went before the local authority’s strategic planning committee at the start of this month.
Known as the Elizabeth Landmark and commissioned to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II and the Commonwealth, the application was recommended for approval by planning officers.
Their view was that the ‘wider public benefits of a major new landmark public art feature’ and the tourism opportunities outweighed any negatives, but not all locals shared this view, with objections voiced by residents and the ward member, Coun John Riddle, at the June 4 meeting.
Despite a lengthy discussion, committee members remained divided on the merits or otherwise of the proposal and agreed to defer the decision for a site visit, after an initial motion to approve the scheme was voted down.
Now, the bid is back before the planning committee next Tuesday (July 2).
The recommendation for approval has not been changed, but an additional report has been tabled and it includes comments from the council’s tourism manager, after the lack of response was highlighted by Coun Jeff Reid at the last meeting.
The response says that ‘it is believed that the structure will be a sensitive asset in relation to the landscape and the environment and it is noted that it will not exist as an isolated structure, being in an area already populated with wind turbines’.
It adds: ‘While it is questionable that the landmark will exist as a substantially visited singular attraction, it will as an unusual feature and point of interest, add value to the total visitor offer within the county and as such will contribute directly to ambitions for sustained growth in our economy.’
The idea for the £1million, 56-metre structure was first revealed last May by the owner of the Ray estate, Lord Devonport, with the design – Ascendant, by Simon Hitchens – selected from a choice of three last August.