Consultation starts today on proposed modifications to the Northumberland Local Plan.

The plan has been progressing through formal ‘examination’ by a Government appointed planning inspector, and this consultation is expected to be the final stage before it can be formally adopted.

Planning inspector Susan Heywood wrote to Northumberland County Council in March this year to outline her findings and said that the local plan submitted by the council can be made ‘sound’ with a series of agreed modifications.

The forthcoming eight-week consultation is an opportunity for people to comment on these.

The inspector has requested that the council consults on the modifications which she considers are necessary to ensure the soundness of the plan. She will then take account of the responses to this consultation before reaching her final conclusions.

The modifications proposed by the inspector are:
l removing the safeguarded land allocation for employment at Prestwick Pit near Ponteland and retaining this as Green Belt;
l proposing substantial planting around the boundaries of employment sites that will be released from the Green Belt at Harwood Meadows, Prestwick Park and Prestwick Pit; and
l a commitment to undertake an early update of the plan in relation to assessment of the need for open space, sport and recreation facilities and the justification for protected open space sites.

The Northumberland Local Plan sets out a range of development proposals as well as planning policies, which will be used to assess applications and guide the location of future development in the county up to 2036. 

Coun. Colin Horncastle, cabinet member responsible for planning at Northumberland County Council said: “I am very pleased to see what we expect to be the final consultation on the draft Northumberland Local Plan getting underway and hope that all those with an interest will look at the modifications and let us have their views.

“We look forward to getting the plan finalised and adopted, and for it to begin to drive the sort of future that we want for Northumberland.

“The new plan reflects modern approaches to tackling important challenges like climate change and enhancing biodiversity. It also seeks to raise the profile of good design and support more active lifestyles through better facilities for walking and cycling.”

Comments are invited on the main modifications and other matters from Wednesday 9 June, until Wednesday 4 August 2021, with full details available on the examination website which is www.northumberland.gov.uk/localplan

Comments can also be sent by email to planningstrategy@northumberland.gov.uk or by post to Planning Strategy, County Hall, Morpeth, NE61 2EF.