CPRE Northumberland

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A new Local Plan for Northumberland

County Hall, Morpeth County Hall, Morpeth Colin Adsley

APRIL, 2018 - Northumberland County Council is moving forward with its new Local Plan.

Submissions have now been made on preferred locations in the county for strategic housing development and employment opportunities. CPRE Northumberland, in its response to the survey, chose the larger towns, emphasising the enormous number of permissions already granted, pressing for brownfield sites to be chosen first, stressing the need for good public transport services and aiming for a balanced range of homes to suit all needs, with access to green space essential as part of the layout plans.

Our choice of employment locations (which included Berwick) took note of NELEP Enterprise Zones, branches of Northumberland College and good transport links as key factors.

The Council has also published a series of studies, and reports, including an extensive document required by Government rules for Local Planning Authorities preparing Local Plans, a Sustainability Assessment Scoping Report. This sets out in detail the many aspects of planning that will be covered in the Local Plan, including twelve key sustainability issues and 17 objectives to be successfully attained if the Plan is to work. 

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           The Cheviots from Hepburn Crags                                         © Don Brownlow

We in CPRE Northumberland have given our greatest attention to issues of housing, biodiversity and green infrastructure, land use, built and cultural heritage and landscape character. The key objectives designed to deliver on these issues are:

  • to ensure everyone has the opportunity to live in a decent and affordable home
  • to conserve and enhance Northumberland's biodiversity and geodiversity
  • to encourage the efficient use of land
  • to conserve and enhance Northumberland's cultural heritage and diversity
  • to conserve and enhance the quality, distinctiveness and diversity of Northumberland's rural and urban landscapes.

Of course, if the Local Plan consisted only of these objectives there would be little need of our campaigns. The problem for us lies in all the other objectives which push in a different direction. Ultimately decisions are made by balancing the conflicting objectives of the Plan, and everyone has a different idea of where that balance should lie. We have submitted our view on this Scoping Report jointly with our fellow-campaigners, the Northumberland and Newcastle Society, and together we have pressed for clear, firm wording to avoid 'loopholes' which might be used to get round planning guidelines derived from the objectives.

Protecting our countryside and unspoilt coast requires constant vigilance and attention. The documents which will eventually lead to a Local Plan with a dominant influence over the way our county changes in the next 17 years must be pored over and scrutinised if we are to do our best to protect the wonderful legacy we have in Northumberland.

It can be demanding work, but we do it willingly for all those who, like us, want to see our county protected from harmful development to remain beautiful for future generations to discover and enjoy.

Latest

News has just come through that the Council expects to mount a Consultation exercise on a Draft Plan in July.

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           Dunstanburgh Castle                                                          © Don Brownlow   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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