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Northumberland Local Plan - shock changes

County Hall, Morpeth County Hall, Morpeth Colin Adsley

Northumberland County Council has now announced the changes it wishes to make in its Core Strategy review.

The two most significant strategic changes affect Morpeth and Hexham, and have dismayed residents in both towns. In Morpeth, the piece of land owned by Mitford Estates which is the subject of a planning application for a commercial development and housing (see the article in Current News headed 'Mitford Estates appeal...') has been designated 'employment land' in place of the original piece at Fairmoor.

At Hexham, a number of smaller pieces of land in the Green Belt which had been earmarked for housing have now been released from this, and a larger piece of land in the Green Belt to the west of the town has been picked out instead.

Opposition from local councillors

At the first Council meeting to consider the changes, strong opposition was voiced by Councillor Homer for Hexham and Councillor Tebbutt for Morpeth. They questioned the validity of the arguments put by the Planning Department for the changes, and clearly felt that the Council was allowing policy to be manipulated by the developers who own these pieces of land.

They called for a halt in the Revised Timetable while all relevant matters were investigated and brought to light. The Chair of the Meeting, Councillor Sambrook, could not accede to that, but did offer additional opportunities for the people of Morpeth and Hexham to be informed of these changes and have a chance to air their views at drop-in public meetings.

Further concerns were expressed by Councillors over the impact on communities in the AONB coastal strip of developments aiming to provide for holiday lets when there are so many local people needing affordable homes, and the impact on towns of large scale housing expansion where the infra-structure is struggling to cope with increased pressure. 

Revised timetable 

31 May, 2016, 10 am at County Hall - proposed changes to go before Cabinet

June/July                - public consultation

October/Nov           - Council decision-making

December               - submission

Spring, 2017            - Examination-in-public

Summer, 2017         - adoption

Have your say

It is vital to our democratic system that we all take part in the consultation process and let our County Council know what we think about the soundness of these proposals. Even afterwards, if we are still unhappy with our Council's final submission, we have the right to let the Inspector know what we think before his Examination-in-Public of the Plan. That might be our last chance to save the green spaces around Morpeth and Hexham.

 

 

        

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