THE outcome of a controversial planning application for a surface coal mine will fall solely to councillors in Newcastle.

Northumberland County Council has agreed to devolve planning control for the application submitted by Banks Mining Ltd and Ibstock Ltd for a surface coal mine at Dewley Farm, near Ponteland, to its neighbours at Newcastle City Council.

The applicants had submitted planning applications to both authorities as the proposed site lies mainly within the administrative area of Newcastle, however the access to the highway lies within Northumberland.

To make things easier, Northumberland councillors were due to agree to devolve planning control to Newcastle when it met at County Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

As Newcastle was the area in which the largest part of the application site covered, the applicants had paid the planning fee only to Newcastle and councillors deemed it agreeable to allow its neighbouring authority to have full say on the determining of the application.

However, Northumberland County Council will still have some say on the outcome of the application.

The council’s interim executive director of regeneration, commercial and economy, Rick O’Farrell, said in a report to councillors: “As the proposed development with Northumberland would involve only the provision of access to the site, officers consider that it would be appropriate in this particular case for Northumberland County Council to delegate its development control functions to Newcastle City Council.

“This council has been consulted on the application, and the director of planning will send comments to Newcastle City Council.”