Press release

Morpeth Northern Bypass application accepted for examination

The application from Northumberland County Council for the proposed Morpeth Northern Bypass scheme has been accepted for examination.

The application is for construction of a single carriageway 3.8km long extending from Whorral Bank on the A197, to the north east of Morpeth, westward to the A1 trunk road to include separate cycleway/footway, new at-grade roundabout to be created at the intersection of the bypass with the existing A192 at Lane End.

The application was submitted on 15 July 2013 and the decision to accept the application to proceed was made on 7 August 2013 in accordance with section 55 of the Planning Act 2008 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011).

When considering whether or not to accept an application for examination, regard is given to the application documents submitted, any adequacy of consultation representations received from local authorities, and the extent to which the developer has had regard to any guidance issued. Other matters relating to the application will be considered by the Examining Authority during the examination and interested parties will have an opportunity take part in that process and make representations if they wish.

Sir Michael Pitt, Chief Executive, Planning Inspectorate said. “After careful consideration we have decided on behalf of the Secretary of State that the application submitted by Northumberland County Council met the required tests set out in the legislation to be accepted for examination”.

It is now for the applicant to publicise the fact that its application has been accepted to proceed to examination and invite people who are interested in the proposal to register with the Planning Inspectorate as an interested party by making a relevant representation.

During this time people will be able to register easily online by visiting the Morpeth Northern Bypass project’s page and completing the online ‘Registration and Relevant Representation form’. Alternatively, those without internet access may call the Planning Inspectorate, National Infrastructure helpline: 0303 444 5000 for a printed registration form.

Interested parties in an application can:

  • Say what they agree or disagree with in the application and why
  • Comment on what other people have said in their representations
  • Attend a Preliminary Meeting and say how they think the application should be examined
  • Request that an open floor hearing is held
  • Attend and request to speak at open floor or issue-specific hearings should one be held.

Sir Michael added. “Following period to register as an Interested Party I will, on behalf of the Secretary of State, appoint the Examining Authority whose role will be to consider the evidence submitted and the representations made by interested parties and then make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State.”

The Planning Inspectorate’s Advice Note 8.3, ‘How to register and become an interested party in an application’ is available on the National Infrastructure website or a copy can be requested by calling 0303 444 5000.

The acceptance to proceed decision and a copy of the application can be viewed at the Morpeth Northern Bypass project page on the National Infrastructure website.

Ends Journalists wanting further information should contact the Planning Inspectorate Press Office, on: 0303 444 5004 or 0303 444 5005 or email: pressoffice@pins.gsi.gov.uk

Notes to editors:

  • Under the Localism Act, the IPC was abolished on 1 April 2012 and its work transferred to the Planning Inspectorate. A National Infrastructure Directorate was created within a restructured Planning Inspectorate.
  • From April 2012, the relevant Secretary of State became the decision maker on all national infrastructure applications for development consent. At the end of the examination of an application, which will still be completed within a maximum of six months, the Planning Inspectorate will have 3 months to make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State who will then have a further 3 months to reach their decision.
  • The Planning Inspectorate, National Infrastructure Programme of Projects details the proposals which are anticipated to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate as applications in the coming months.

The process in a snapshot

There are six key stages within the process. The summary below provides examples of when and how people have an opportunity to provide evidence to the Planning Inspectorate.

Pre-application

Key activities:

  • project development / developer’s pre-application consultation and publicity
  • environmental impact assessment preparation and scoping, where required

Public involvement:

  • have their say on the proposal to the developer through their pre application consultation

Acceptance by the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State

Key activities:

  • the Secretary of State has 28 days from the day after receipt to decide whether or not an application should be accepted for examination

Public involvement:

  • details will be posted at the Planning Inspectorate’s website on how to register as an interested party – once an application has been accepted for examination and publicised by the developer
  • opportunity to legally challenge a decision not to accept an application

Pre-examination

Key activities:

  • single Inspector or a Panel of three or more Inspectors appointed
  • Preliminary Meeting called and held
  • procedure and timetable set for examination

Public involvement:

  • register to say what you agree or disagree with in the application
  • submit your representation
  • view application documents submitted by the developer on the Planning Inspectorate website
  • attend the Preliminary Meeting
  • say how the examination should be conducted

Examination

Key activities:

  • a maximum of six months to carry out the examination

Public involvement:

  • submit more detailed comments in writing
  • comment on what other people have said
  • request and attend an open-floor hearing
  • If being held, request to speak at open-floor and / or issue specific hearing(s)
  • comment on the local authority’s Local Impact Report - detailing the impact of the scheme on the local area

Decision

Key activities:

  • a maximum of three months for Planning Inspectorate to issue a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State, with a statement of reasons
  • the relevant Secretary of State then has a further three months from receiving the recommendation in which to issue the decision

Post decision

Key activities:

  • six weeks for any legal challenge

Public involvement:

  • opportunity to challenge