Thursday, September 13, 2007

Call for Halls to pay cost of abandoned opencast appeal

HALLS of Durham should pay the costs clocked up by Gateshead Council over an abandoned opencast planning appeal, claims the Liberal Democrat Councillor who fought the plans.

Halls wanted to opencast half a million tonnes of coal and fireclay from a site near Whickham, next to the historic Gibside Estate.

The plans however were rejected by Gateshead Council in 2005 and the company lodged an appeal with government planning inspectors to have the decision overturned. But nine months after lodging the appeal, Halls withdrew it.

Councillor Jonathan Wallace’s ward of Whickham South and Sunniside contains the location of the proposed opencast mine. He said it was time for Halls to cover the costs incurred by Gateshead’s council taxpayers in fighting the appeal.

“The costs of preparing for any planning appeal can be considerable, especially those on the scale of the one that was expected to go ahead for this application,” said Councillor Wallace.

“Halls have now walked away from the appeal but they should not be allowed to walk away from the costs. Gateshead Council taxpayers should not have to pick up the bill for this.”

You can see our latest video, filmed in August 2007, about the opencast proposals on the following link: Opencast news

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