ROTHBURY PARISH COUNCIL: Parish anger at change to play plans

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ANGER has erupted over plans to create a play park in Rothbury.

For the last two years, a planning wrangle has been ongoing with regards to the play area at the Whitton View estate.

As part of a planning agreement, when homes were given approval, the area was to be constructed for children who live there.

But there have been numerous delays to the development.

And at last week’s meeting of Rothbury Parish Council, councillors hit out after hearing that new plans are scaled back from what was originally suggested.

One councillor threatened to report Northumberland County Council to the Local Government Ombudsman for failing to enforce breaches in the original planning application.

Chairman Coun Jeff Reynalds told members he had met the county council’s enforcement officer, Melanie Thew, about the site.

He said: “Northumberland Estates has sent a letter saying they accept responsibility under the section 106 agreement to provide a play area and to provide a sum of money sufficient to maintain it.

“Having said that they are basically saying to the planning authority that they are not in the business of running or maintaining these things.

“The stage we are at now is that Miller Homes is bringing a new planning application to the planners.

“Instead of being on two sides of the highway it is on one.

“It was going to have seven items, plus a dog bin and a seat but the latest plan is six items. They are swapping a swing for something cheaper to maintain.

“And they are trying to do it without a fence, but I did say there was a steep drop and a fence would prevent dogs getting in.”

Coun Steven Bridgett said: “It sounds to me like they are trying to do it on the cheap and it will result in costing them the least commuted sum possible.

“I think it should be up to the residents of Whitton View to decide what is there.

“If they are attempting to put something in on the cheap I will be very, very annoyed.

“If they try and railroad it through I will report the county council to the local government ombudsman for not properly enforcing it.

“The county is in breach of planning, that play park should have been built when a certain part of the estate was built.”

He added that he will call in the application to the planning committee for officers to ‘explain’ why it has taken so long.

Councillors are also to tell residents of Whitton View about the plans and are calling for a consultation with them before anything is decided.