This evening I joined around 20 or so residents in the council chamber in Hexham to witness the planning committee make a decision about the New Ridley application. Very good objections were made by Janice Wilkinson on behalf of the community and Cllr Anne Dale on behalf of the Parish Council. The applicant made a presentation in favour of the development, but it was not very convincing.
Cllr Tony Reid from Prudhoe made the most interesting contribution to the debate when he announced that he came to the meeting expecting to support the application but after he saw the details felt that it would be inappropriate. You can imagine the relief in the room when, despite the planning officer's initial recommendation of conditional approval, the planning committee voted unanimously to reject the application.
Of course, we must wait to see what the developers will do next. On their way out they were overheard saying they would wait six months and put in another application. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. This evening is for celebrations. I joined a few locals in the Dr Syntax afterwards for a small glass of bubbly.
Plaudits go to all who wrote letters of objection, signed the petition, posed for photographs, turned up to the public meetings, fed in material to inform Janice's speech, who attended this evening's meeting, and who provided moral support all the way through.