A CONTROVERSIAL planning application to build a 184ft tall monument in the hills of Northumberland will be decided by the planning inspectorate.

The application, by viscount Devonport, would see a publicly accessible landmark celebrating Queen Elizabeth build on Cold Law Hill near Kirkwhelpington.

Northumberland County Council turned down the application last July, but the applicant appealed and it will now be heard at a planning hearing - something the council requested.

A Northumberland County Council spokesperson said: “We are pleased that this appeal will be considered via a hearing rather than written representations - something which the council requested and supports.

“We will be assisting the Planning Inspectorate to make the arrangements for the hearing so that it runs smoothly and in a transparent way.

“We are in the hands of The Planning Inspectorate in respect of timescales and now await further information from the Inspectorate team.

“We will be informing all parties of the arrangements for the hearing as soon as these are available.”

Almost 2,000 people have joined the Keep The Wannies Wild Facebook group, which was set up to protest against the application.

Founding member Anne Palmer said the group were prepared to assist the council in any way they could.

She said: "We didn't see a need for it to go to a hearing but it's fine that it has. We're quite happy about it.

"The decision is the councils'. It's a question of the council defending the decision and we will be giving them all the assistance we can.

"This is the third time we've had to put our objections in, which gets a bit tiresome."

"We're ready for it."