A decision by a Government appointed Planning Inspector to overturn Stockton Council’s Planning Committee’s refusal to allow the Vane Arms pub in Longnewton to be converted into a house has been branded as “shameful” by Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham.
In his appeal judgement the Planning Inspector overturned the decision “despite the obvious community support for the retention of the Vane Arms” and supported the developer in their plans to turn the pub – which closed in 2019 – into a dwelling. The Vane Arms has been at the centre of a community-led campaign, Save the Vane, to retain the pub as a community asset for the village of Longnewton.
Alex, who has been supporting this local campaign, welcomed the Planning Committee’s decision to reject the planning request to convert the pub in housing earlier this year.
Following the announcement that this locally made decision to refuse permission to the develop has been overturned by a Government appointed Inspector, Alex said:
“It’s deeply disappointing to see a local planning decision overturned by a Government appointed Planning Inspector, and utterly shameful that the Government has allowed the loss of a vital community asset when it was clear that local people had plans to turn the Vane into a community-owned pub.
“In his speech to Tory Party Conference the Communities Secretary spoke of ‘allowing communities to take back control of their futures’, but this decision by the Planning Inspector does the complete opposite and has sided with a developer despite very clear community opposition to their plans. If the Government is really serious about giving communities and local people a voice in planning, then it should do the right thing and back the Longnewton community in their desire to keep the Vane as a community pub.”