Landmark to celebrate Queen and Commonwealth overcomes opposition

·2-min read

Planners have approved a 55m tall landmark celebrating the Queen and the Commonwealth following an appeal by the aristocratic landowner.

The Planning Inspectorate overturned Northumberland County Council’s original decision to block The Elizabeth Landmark on private land near Kirkwhelpington.

Council officers had approved the project, designed by artist Simon Hitchens, but members of the planning committee refused it in 2019.

A group of around 2,000 locals, called Keep the Wannies Wild – referring to the name of a nearby ridge – objected.

They opposed its size, three times higher than the Angel of the North, and said it was out of keeping for an isolated rural area.

The artwork was designed to look like a thin slice of hill had been removed and the raised section of the steel monument would match the slice.

The application by Viscount Devonport was for permission to build the artwork and a walking trail on his land.

In a statement, he said the development will have a “minimal impact on the natural environment”.

He said: “It is our ambition to create a sculpture that is not only celebratory of Queen Elizabeth II and The Commonwealth, but which is also a magnificent piece of artwork that acts as a beacon for visitors and tourists to the region.”

Mr Hitchens, a sculptor, won the brief to develop a landmark that celebrates “unity, diversity and the shared heritage between The Commonwealth of Nations”, the project’s statement said.

Mr Hitchens said: “We still have a long road ahead of us to bring this contemporary sculpture to fruition, yet I am certain that when completed it will be a significant addition to the natural and cultural landscape of Northumberland.”

A Northumberland County Council spokesperson: “Planning Inspectorate decisions are outside of our control, but councillors and the local residents group clearly set out their case as to why they felt the appeal should be dismissed and put this across as robustly as possible.”

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