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Townspeople fume over plan's revival; Supermarket and homes are proposed.

Byline: Paul Tully

OBJECTORS are gearing up for a repeat battle against the Duke of Northumberland's controversial plans for Prudhoe town centre.

The duke's Northumberland Estates is ready to re-submit exactly the same pounds 30m development scheme that was thrown out on a legal technicality by a High Court judge in March.

The plans were scuppered because an environmental impact study had not been carried out, despite it being a legal requirement.

The study has now been completed and Northumberland Estates head of planning Colin Barnes confirmed the application would be re-submitted in identical form to the planners at the county council.

"We have had a public exhibition and the plans haven't changed," said Mr Barnes. "They will be submitted to the council sometime next month."

The news brought an immediate response from campaigners who thought they had left the plans in ruins when High Court judge Mark Pelling, sitting in Manchester, threw them out seven months ago.

Battle lines are being redrawn and the Take Pride In Prudhoe action group, which was set up specifically to lead the protests, is ready to launch protests.

Spokesman John Robson, of Tyne View Terrace, Prudhoe, said: "They have an arrogant attitude that everything's done and it's going to sail through.

"But we have staying power and we are ready to do it all over again. What we really want to do now is bring this firmly into the public arena.

"The public exhibition was in and out in one day last Friday, but we need the plans to be on view for longer periods for people to see."

The Northumberland Estate plans include 150 homes, a supermarket, town square and multi-storey car park.

It also proposes retail and leisure businesses, the relocation of the workingmen's club, and new building on a car park.

The original proposals were approved by the now-defunct Tynedale District Council in June 2008 despite more than a third of the town's 12,000 population objecting.

The pendulum swung the way of the protestors when the town's only existing supermarket, the Co-op, which owns land on the site of the proposed development, took the case into the High Court.

It convinced the judge that the district council had been wrong to grant permission without the environmental im-pact assessment being done. John Short, chairman of the Prudhoe Traders' Association, said last night: "We are ready to fight this one out all over again.

"The public consultation process has been so poor that a lot of people don't even know this is happening.

"We were pictured ripping up the plans back in March and a lot of people think that's still the case, and that we've won. We aren't against Prudhoe moving with the times, but these plans are good for nobody and will destroy the nature of the town.

"If the planners go with the duke's plans again then we are ready to do what we did the first time, and take it all the way to a judicial inquiry."

CAPTION(S):

CRITICISED Northumberland Estates is the duke's company NEW LOOK Two of the illustrations detailing the proposed changes in Prudhoe that were displayed previously in the town TOWN CENTRE Some familiar buildings on Front Street, Prudhoe, will disppear if the plans of Northumberland Estates win approval
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 29, 2010
Words:547
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