A DECISION on a planning application for a controversial opencast site has been put back a month.

Coalfield Resources Ltd, formerly UK Coal, is seeking approval to extract 2.2m tonnes of coal from a site at Hoodsclose, near Whittonstall, just on the Northumberland side of the county boundary with Durham.

The coal to be removed from the site is considered good quality for use in coking and power station burning.

Part of the submitted plans includes the restoration of the site to develop 130 acres of native woodland, with almost 20 miles of hedgerow planting.

Residents in Ebchester and surrounding villages in the Derwent valley, in north-west Durham, are concerned over the potential lorry route removing coal from the site, as well as the cumulative effect with two other opencast applications pending either side of the county boundary.

The application was to have gone before Northumberland County Council’s west area planning committee tomorrow (Tuesday February 5).

But, partly due to the amount of correspondence and other representations in the case, it has provisionally been put back to next month’s meeting, on March 5.