CAMPAIGNERS battling a plan to convert a former police headquarters into a children’s holiday centre have accused the council set to decide on the scheme of “incompetence”.

Members of Newby Wiske Action Group (NWAG), which was last year awarded legal costs against Hambleton District Council over flawed planning procedures, has claimed the authority has made similar failings before its planning committee reconsiders a proposal to transform Newby Wiske Hall, near Northallerton.

The campaigners, who claim North Yorkshire Police commissioner Julia Mulligan’s decision to sell the grade II listed property to activity holiday firm PGL will ruin the village, said despite an undertaking by council officers to publish their 85-page report on the authority’s planning portal site, with less than 48 hours until planners met it had not been uploaded.

NWAG member David Stockport said the group was seeking legal advice over the authority’s failure to disclose the key document where it stated it would and in a timely fashion to enable others to consider it.

NWAG said while the council had published the officer’s report on one section of its website, the overwhelming majority of residents had been unable to find it as it was not published on the planning portal section.

The Northern Echo: Newby Wiske where PGL hope to turn the former police HQ into an activity centre. Picture: Richard Doughty Photography

Mr Stockport said: “This is exactly a repeat of one of the issues that we took to judicial review after the last time the plan was considered. It is incompetent. You would think when a council has been taken to judicial review at a cost of about £50,000 to the taxpayer they would learn.

“It would be a farce if it wasn’t so serious. It is people’s lives they are playing with. To put it mildly, we are furious.”

In the report, planning officers have recommended the scheme be approved, stating the impact of noise from the PGL centre could be mitigated to an acceptable level with a noise management plan and the impact of heavy vehicle movements in the village could also be lessened.

While campaigners have questioned the benefit it would bring to the area, the report states the PGL centre would boost local firms providing services to the site and create “a significant number of jobs”.

In response to NWAG’s claims, a council spokesman said it had sent out several hundred letters to alert residents to the planning meeting and highlight the availability of the documents for scrutiny.

He said: “The council has met the requirements for publishing the reports for this meeting. Public notice was given and the reports have been published on the council’s website.

“All interested parties have received a letter notifying them of the date of the committee meeting and that the documents are available on the council’s website.”