I WISH to correct the inaccuracies in the comments from the Local Government Association about village green applications in which their chairman, Coun David Parsons used the recent Beadnell applications as an example (Gazette, December 22, 2011).
The facts are as follows:
1 – Councils already have the powers to reject village green applications. The Beadnell village green applications which included the Haven and White Rock sites were subject to scrutiny by Northumberland County Council to ensure that they were complete and valid. Had the criteria required not been met then the council would have rejected these applications when they were submitted.
2 – For avoidance of doubt, the legal fees of the applicants were not paid for by the ‘taxpayer’, all these expenses were paid for by contributions from inhabitants of Beadnell who do not want to see their beautiful coastline destroyed by development.
3 – If Mr Parsons had checked the facts he quoted he would have found that planning permission had already been refused for the Haven and White Rock sites at Beadnell on grounds that these developments were contrary to national and local planning policy and would have an adverse effect on the Northumberland Coastal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
4 – Beadnell Parish Council has twice voted against the proposed developments, 400 residents have signed a petition objecting to the building of these luxury houses and over 100 inhabitants have provided evidence in support of the village green applications, some have been using the land for recreation in excess of 50 years.
5 – The Beadnell village green applications will not stop affordable housing as the proposal is to develop very large expensive luxury houses, which more than likely will become second/holiday homes and will not help the sustainability of the village which already has one of the highest percentage of second homes in the country.
It would appear that Mr Parsons is not in favour of democracy as it gets in the way of developers bulldozing their way through planning applications, and in the case of Beadnell ignoring the historical use of the land by inhabitants for lawful sports and pastimes for in excess of 20 years.