TO prevent communities growing frustrated at a lack of information, monthly updates on the progress of planning applications are set to be distributed.

Speaking at Monday’s Hexham Town Council meeting, Northumberland County Council’s head of planning services, Rob Murfin, said that it was his intention to provide regular updates about relevant applications to councils in a bid to be more transparent.

It followed frustrations from Hexham’s deputy mayor, Coun. Steve Ball, on the lack of progress on key buildings within the town, most notably the old swimming pool which has been cordoned off by workers since the beginning of the year.

Coun. Ball said: “Six months ago, I was more optimistic about the development of Hexham but we seemed to have aborted many of the projects, such as the Bunker site, the old bus station and the former swimming pool.

“I have asked very personal questions about what’s happening, but people hide behind the mystique of ‘it’s commercially sensitive.’ What can be done about that to allow people to know what’s going on?”

Mr Murfin, who was new to the role, acknowledged that a lack of updates about planning caused a lot of frustration to the public.

He said: “Information is really important here so I will be doing an update for district, parish and county councils every month on all major schemes, not just big schemes, with likely decisions and other barriers.”