The date has been announced for the public inquiry into the controversial plans to build a coal mine in West Cumbria.
The Planning Inspectorate – the Government’s planning regulator – called in the proposals for the Woodhouse Colliery site, which would be built on the former Marchon site in the Kells area of Whitehaven, on March 25.
Statements and comments from interested parties must be submitted by May 6, with inquiry evidence required by August 10.
The inquiry itself will be held on September 7. The location is yet to be disclosed.
Cumbria Crack reported earlier this month that the final decision on the controversial plans to construct a new coking coal mine had been called in by the Local Government Minister Robert Jenrick.
A letter sent to the county council from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government stated that the Government “places a strong emphasis on localism and decentralisation, and the general approach of the Secretary of State is, therefore, not to interfere with the decision-making process of democratically elected local councils on planning matters”.
The letter adds that the “planning application for this development was first submitted to Cumbria County Council in May 2017 and has been considered by your planning committee on three occasions, without a final outcome being reached.
“Four years later, it is now being reconsidered a further time.”
The Secretary of State, the letter explains, “has decided to call this application in because of the further developments since his original decision.
“The Climate Change Committee’s recommendations for the 6th Carbon Budget have been published since he was advised on this decision. The Secretary of State recognises that proponents and opponents take different positions on that matter, and considers that this should be explored during a public inquiry.
“Furthermore controversy about the application has increased.
“Overall the Secretary of State considers that this application raises planning issues of more than local importance.”