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Council delays Sita landfill plans

Sita UKs plans to get approval for an extension to its Northumberland-based landfill site at Seghill have been delayed by an objection from Blyth Valley Borough Council.

The waste firm submitted a dual planning application to two planning authorities - North Tyneside Council and Northumberland County Council. The site operations cover both areas. Blyth Valley Borough Council, which is a district in Northumberland, has made a request to the Government office to reject the application based on planning and environmental grounds.

In a complex twist, Sita has already gained approval from Northumberland County Council but it must wait until August 14 for the other planning authority, North Tyneside Council, to make a decision.

The landfill site has been there since the late 1950s and is nearly full to capacity, so Sita has decided to extend it.

But Sita may not be given the chance because both Northumberland County Council and North Tyneside Council have been served with an Article 14 Notice by the Government Office for the North East (GONE), a part of central Government that advises the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities. The notice prevents either of the councils from giving formal approval to the application without further approval from the Secretary of State.

A Government Office for the North East spokeswoman said: An Article 14 direction has been issued on the applications to both Northumberland County Council and North Tyneside Council. This is to allow the request from Blyth Valley Council to call in the application to be considered. A further decision can then be made following the meeting of North Tyneside Council members on August 14, depending on which decision the members of the planning committee reach."

Sita UK general manager John Grainger said that he was disappointed that the Article 14 notice could introduce further delay to the application.

He explained: This application has already been with the authorities for three years and any further delay would be most unfortunate.

Blyth Valley Borough Council head Steve Robson said: Even though Northumberland County Council was minded to approve the application the final decision whether to call the application in still rests with GONE. GONE has very specific rules governing the calling in of planning applications and the Secretary of State will only take this step if planning issues of more than local importance are involved.

As far as the request to call in the application is concerned, the borough council is querying the policy context for a large extension to the landfill site and the damaging effect it will have on the green belt. Blyth Valley Borough Council believes these are issues of more than local importance.

If North Tyneside Council reject the application then Sita may have to submit their planning application again.

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