Decision by Government-appointed, remote Planning Inspector to overturn local planning decisions on Mile House Pub site proposals, criticised by Alex

Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, has blasted a decision by a Government appointed Planning Inspector to overturn Stockton Council’s Planning Committee’s refusal for a “drive thru” on the Mile House Pub site despite local concerns about road safety around the nearby school.

In his appeal judgement the Planning Inspector overturned the decision, making no mention of the nearby school and suggested that widespread “drive-thru” patronage was a result of Covid restrictions. The Planning Inspector made one brief visit to the site on which they based their decision.

Alex, who has been supporting local people in their opposition welcomed the Planning Committee’s “minded to reject” decision and wrote to the Planning Inspector to oppose the “drive thru” element of the development earlier this year. In his letter Alex made it clear that he was not opposed to the development in its entirety but just to the “drive thru” which he believed would “would negatively impact on local traffic and create potential road safety issues around the school.”

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 made by councillors with local knowledge of the area and the issues posed by such a development overturned by a Government appointed Planning Inspector, and once again it flies in the face of the warm words made by the “Levelling Up” Secretary at Tory Conference when he spoke of ‘allowing communities to take back control of their futures’. This decision by the Planning Inspector does the complete opposite. “I’ve repeatedly welcomed plans to redevelop the Mile House pub, which has been left in disgraceful state following its closure, and the proposals to enhance local amenities in this area with a retail and coffee shop offer. I have, however, always had concerns about the “drive-thru” on safety grounds – as do many local residents. For the Inspector to simply write these off after a quick visit to the site is shameful.”