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Prudhoe mayor ‘shocked’ at police plan for meeting

A TOWN mayor has described as “shocking” plans to police a major public meeting on redevelopment plans.

A TOWN mayor has described as “shocking” plans to police a major public meeting on redevelopment plans.

Prudhoe mayor Jennifer McGee pressed home a demand for the meeting to thrash out the controversial town centre proposals laid by the Duke of Northumberland’s development wing.

The plans for retail, office space, over 100 new homes and a car park, have met with major opposition and been stalled once by the High Court but are on the table again for an official go-ahead.

Coun McGee discovered she was entitled to request a public meeting on the issue.

Her official request was reluctantly rubber-stamped by Northumberland County Council’s area west planning committee last Wednesday – but chairman Coun Ian Hutchinson said: “Because of the track record and upheaval there has been at other public meetings, we have to request the police to come.”

The meeting is likely to be held in Prudhoe on August 18, but Coun McGee says the committee’s declarations may have deterred people from attending.

She said: “People want to get their points over but this could put people off coming to the meeting.

“I think it’s shocking. They were totally out of order. At the two meetings we have had, there were huge numbers of the public there and there was no disorder.”

The Duke of Northumberland’s original plans were passed two years ago but then challenged by the Co-op, which won a High Court judgment against the Northumberland Estates.

The Estates have now submitted the environmental assessment required, and the proposals, effectively unchanged, are in front of planners once again.

The meeting will be the first time the people have had the chance to debate matters ahead of a planning decision.

 

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