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Developer sues county, leader and chief exec over handling of planning application

A property developer has launched legal proceedings against Northumberland County Council, its Leader Cllr Peter Jackson, Cllr John Riddle and its chief executive Daljit Lally over the handling of its planning application in relation to a proposed garden village.

Lugano Group, which is pursuing the Dissington Garden Village scheme, said it had concerns relating to the planning process.

The Newcastle-based developer has hired law firm Pinsent Masons and an unnamed QC to advise on the claim. The company has served a formal letter before claim on the council.

Lugano Group chairman Richard Robson said: “These matters are of the upmost seriousness but unfortunately to date we have not had any assurances from the council that our concerns have been properly addressed.

“While Northumberland County Council have referred to an investigation into some aspects of our case, we consider that investigation to have been neither independent nor comprehensive, and despite the council relying on it, thus far they have refused to release details to support their position. Our offers to meet and discuss our concerns on a ‘without prejudice’ basis have also been declined.

“Accordingly and with regret, we have no option but to commence formal legal proceedings against the authority and individuals concerned.”

A Northumberland County Council spokesperson said: "We have received further correspondence from the Lugano Group and are taking legal advice in this regard.

"As previously advised, we believe that the council has acted lawfully and reasonably throughout this process.

"We continue to work with Lugano on their live planning application for Dissington Garden Village."

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