Not a good example of democracy

I was astonished that the north area planning committee, which includes the two county councillors elected to represent the people of Alnwick, appeared not to have appreciated the full implications of the planning application for the Greensfield site.

The outline application was for 271 dwellings of which 30 per cent are to be affordable homes.

However, as the 58 flats for the elderly are part of that 30 per cent, this leaves a mere 23 affordable houses, just 10 per cent of the total proposed housing stock on that site.

In spite of that, the committee voted in favour of the application, stating that they could not find a legal reason to oppose it.

Nevertheless, two members of that committee had the good sense to vote against it.

There are always legal reasons to oppose such planning applications.

The very least that this committee should have done was to make Northumberland Estates go to appeal.

But of course, this was already a done deal.

It was apparent that minds had been made up, decisions made, objections ignored or dismissed long before the meeting last Thursday.

In fact, if that part of the meeting dealing with the application was an example of democracy in this country, perhaps we should give serious consideration to government by referendum.

Decisions of the magnitude of the planning application in question which affect the whole town should never be left to a small, remote group of individuals, but taken by the local community as a whole.

J Humphries,