Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning

Find out about neighbourhood planning and the current and proposed neighbourhood plans. There is also a step-by-step guide and useful links to find out more.

What is neighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood planning was introduced through the Localism Act in 2011 and gives communities the opportunity to shape and define how their area should grow and change in the future. In Northumberland, this must be led by parish councils.

What can neighbourhood planning do?
This can be used by parish councils to guide and shape development in a defined neighbourhood area.

This includes:

  • neighbourhood development plans
  • neighbourhood development orders
  • Community Right to Build orders

Within a neighbourhood area, parish councils can:

  • shape where new homes, shops and offices should be built
  • say what those new buildings should look like
  • grant permission for new buildings that fit with local planning policies for the area
It is important these plans/orders take into account national planning polices, as well as policies set out in the Northumberland local plan.

Neighbourhood planning should not be used as a way to prevent development, and the council has a statutory role to play in supporting neighbourhood planning. For example, we will:
  • support groups involved in neighbourhood planning by providing advice on processes to be followed and advice on current planning policy
  • organise the independent examination of the plan or order
  • organise the referendum 
Neighbourhood planning tools
Neighbourhood planning is exercised through three main tools. These can be combined or used individually.

Neighbourhood development plans
Plans are used by parish councils to establish planning policies for the development and use of land in their area. These can be either general or site specific policies and cannot block development already agreed through the Northumberland local plan.

The council will produce the Northumberland local plan, setting the strategic context within which neighbourhood development plans work. However, neighbourhood development plans can shape and influence where development will go, and what it will look like.
Although plans are normally expected to cover a whole parish area, they can cover larger or smaller geographical areas. Parish councils can work together to prepare plans to cover a larger area and where this is the case, one parish council must be officially nominated to lead the process.

Neighbourhood development plans have to meet a number of conditions to ensure they are legally compliant. They must:
  • have regard to national planning policy and guidance
  • be in general conformity with strategic policies in the Northumberland local plan
  • contribute to sustainable development
  • be compatible with EU obligations and human rights requirements
Once a plan is in force, planning decisions for that area must be taken in accordance with its policies, as well as those set out in the Northumberland local plan.

Neighbourhood development orders
These are prepared using the same procedures as neighbourhood development plans. They grant permission for development without the need for further planning applications. They can grant planning permission for an individual development or for types of development across a whole neighbourhood area. These could include:
  • major development schemes
  • new houses
  • a new shop or pub
  • permit extensions of a certain size or type
The orders speed up the planning process, since planning applications do not have to be submitted if the development is covered by an order. Before it can be brought into effect any order must:
  • meet the basic conditions
  • pass an independent examination
  • gain the approval of a majority of voters of the neighbourhood in a referendum
Community Right to Build order
These give permission for small-scale, site-specific developments by a parish or community group set up specifically to promote the particular development. The preparations of these orders follow the same general principles for neighbourhood development plans and orders.

Strategic environmental assessment screening opinion
This ensures the environmental implications of policies are taken into account before plans are brought into force. The need for such assessments of plans and programmes is set out in legislation. We are required to provide a screening opinion to establish whether a strategic environmental assessment is required for neighbourhood plans.

The neighbourhood plan preparation process
There are five main stages involved in creating a neighbourhood development plan. The same general process also applies in preparing development orders and Community Right to Build orders.

The neighbourhood plan preparation process

There are five main stages involved in creating a neighbourhood development plan. The same general process also applies in preparing development orders and Community Right to Build orders.

Step one: area designation
Neighbourhood planning activity can only formally take place in areas specifically designated by the council as neighbourhood areas and the parish council must submit an area designation application which:
  • contains a map clearly showing the proposed neighbourhood area
  • explains why the area is appropriate for neighbourhood planning purposes
The council will publicise the application for at least a six-week period and invite comments from the local community. After considering the application and any comments received, we make and publish the decision on the application.
Step two: preparing and publicising the plan
Once a neighbourhood area has been designated, a plan can be prepared. The way in which plans are prepared will be decided by the parish council. In most cases, a project or steering group will be established to lead preparation of a plan.

Normally plan preparation would involve:
  • gathering information about the plan area
  • establishing local community aspirations and priorities
  • identifying a vision for the plan area
  • setting out a clear purpose for a plan including identifying goals or objectives to be achieved through the plan
  • drafting planning policies to help deliver the objectives of the plan
  • publicising the plan locally, inviting comments from people who live, work and carry out business in the area
Publicity about a draft plan must be conducted for a minimum of six weeks prior to the plan being submitted.

Engagement and consultation about the plan as it emerges will be widespread, inclusive and part of a continuous process of communication with communities in the plan area.

Once the parish council is satisfied with the plan, and has taken account of comments made by the local community, it must submit the plan to the council. 
Step three: submit the plan
Once the plan has been submitted, we will check it complies with legal requirements and arrange an independent examination of the draft plan. The submission must include:
  • a map of the area
  • the draft plan
  • a statement outlining how the proposal meets the ‘basic conditions’ (see below)
  • a consultation statement which must set out who was consulted and how, the issues raised and describe how they were resolved
This information will be publicised for a minimum of six weeks and any comments submitted will be sent directly to the independent examiner. The basic conditions of the plan are that it:
  • must have regard to national planning policy and guidance
  • must be in general conformity with strategic policies in the development plan and contribute to sustainable development
  • must be compatible with EU obligations and human rights requirements
Step four: independent examination
Plans must be examined to ascertain whether they meet legal requirements before being put to local referendum and adopted by the council. When confirmed, we appoint an independent examiner in agreement of the parish council.

The examiner will:
  • decide whether the proposal meets legal requirements and basic conditions
  • produce a report detailing their findings
  • make recommendations about the draft plan including whether the plan should be put to referendum in the local area 
Step five: referendum
The council will publish the examiner’s report and, where recommended, we will organise a local referendum. For the plan to be adopted, it must receive majority support from the local community. If more than 50% vote in favour, the council must adopt it as new planning policy.
How the council will help
Parish councils are encouraged to seek advice in the early process of their plan development. We have a duty to support parish councils who decide to prepare neighbourhood plans or orders. We will:
  • provide advice to ensure neighbourhood plans and orders meet the legal requirements and they are in general conformity with the Northumberland local plan
  • allocate a planning officer from the planning policy team to provide one-to-one support and technical advice throughout the production of the neighbourhood plan
For further information and advice please contact the planning policy by: Alternatively:
Planning and Housing Services
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland
NE61 2EF 
Useful documents and links

Neighbourhood plans

Information on current neighbourhood plans and plans in preparation can be viewed below.

If you would like to know where neighbourhood areas have been designated and where neighbourhood development plans are in preparation, please view the neighbourhood plans map by clicking on the link below.

Allendale
Formal ‘making’ of Allendale neighbourhood development plan
Following the successful referendum, the Allendale neighbourhood development plan was formally 'made' at a full council meeting on 1 July 2015. The period for legal challenge against the referendum results has now lapsed and no challenge was made.

Now the neighbourhood plan is formally 'made', it becomes part of the statutory development plan for Northumberland. Consequently, decisions on whether or not to grant planning permission in the Allendale neighbourhood area will need to be made in accordance with the plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

The final Allendale neighbourhood plan and supporting documents are set out below: The parish council submitted a neighbourhood planning application to make the parish a neighbourhood area in 2012 and this was approved in January 2013. Consultation on submission plan
Allendale Parish Council submitted their proposed plan to Northumberland County Council and this was publicised from 17 October to 28 November 2014. The comments submitted during this publicity period were passed to the person appointed to carry out the independent examination of the proposed plan. Independent examination
This has now been completed and concludes that the plan may proceed to referendum subject to minor modification.  Northumberland County Council has accepted the examination report and the minor notifications to the plan recommended by the examiner. We consider the version of the neighbourhood development plan for referendum meets the basic conditions. Referendum
On Thursday 26 March 2015, a referendum was held to establish the level of community support for the plan. All residents within the parish who are entitled and registered to vote were able to participate. The referendum asked the following question:

"Do you want Northumberland County Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Allendale to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?"

The majority voted ‘yes’ and so Northumberland County Council will now make the plan and bring it into force. You can find out more about the referendum here: You can review other documents relating to the plan here: Strategic environmental assessment screening opinion
This screening opinion on the Allendale neighbourhood plan is available by clicking here and hard copies are available to view at County Hall, Morpeth, during office hours.

Further information of the Allendale neighbourhood development plan can be viewed here
Acomb
Designation of neighbourhood area
An application by Acomb Parish Council to designate the civil parish of Acomb as a 'neighbourhood area' was approved by Northumberland County Council on 17 November 2015 following a period of publicity between 9 October 2015 and 9 November 2015.

Details of this application and the decision can be found below:
Alnwick & Denwick
Approval for Referendum
Alnwick Town Council, together with Denwick Parish Council, has prepared the third neighbourhood plan in the County which has successfully been passed by an independent examiner; the Plan will now proceed to a local referendum.

An independent examiner has looked at the Plan and confirmed that it satisfies all legal requirements. The county council considered the recommendations made by the independent examiner and proposed to accept some of the recommendations and to make further modifications to the Plan. The county council notified persons previously consulted about the Plan and those who made representations on the submission version of the Plan.

Northumberland County Council considers that this Plan meets the necessary legal requirements.  The Plan will now proceed to local referendum, which will take place on the 15th June 2017.

Further details regarding the forthcoming referendum will be published in due course. The Referendum version of the Plan and a number of supporting documents are available below:

Post-examination modifications
The county council has considered the recommendations made by the independent examiner and proposes to accept some of the recommendations and to make further modifications to the Plan.

The county council is required to notify persons previously consulted about the Plan and those who made representations on the submission version of the Plan. The changes proposed to policies are set out in the notification document below. A revised Proposals Map and Inset Map are also included below. The proposed complete version of the Plan including these further modifications will be published on the website in due course. This is not a general consultation on the further modifications. Representations have been invited only from those persons prescribed in the relevant Regulations. Those persons and organisations that have received a notification letter or email are invited to view and comment on the proposed further modifications notification document.

Independent examination
An independent examination of the Alnwick and Denwick neighbourhood plan has now been completed.  The county council will consider the recommendations made by the independent examiner in discussion with the town and parish councils before deciding whether the plan should progress to referendum.  
Consultation on submission plan
Alnwick Town Council, in partnership with Denwick Parish Council, submitted their proposed neighbourhood development plan to Northumberland County Council and this was publicised from 9 October 2015 to 23 November 2015.
The written comments submitted during that publicity period were passed to the person appointed to carry out the independent examination of the proposed plan.
To view the submission document, click on the link below:
Neighbourhood area application
Alnwick Town Council submitted an application for the parishes of Alnwick and Denwick, which was approved in April 2013. All details on this can be found below:

Neighbourhood plan website
View the Alnwick and Denwick neighbourhood plan website here.

Belford

Neighbourhood area designation application
Belford Parish Council applied to Northumberland County Council to designate the civil parishes of Belford and Middleton as a neighbourhood area, with the express purpose of preparing a neighbourhood development plan.

The application was approved by Northumberland County Council on 22 September 2015 following a period of publicity between 10 August 2015 and 7 September 2015.

Details of this application and the decision can be found below:

Berwick-upon-Tweed
Berwick-upon-Tweed Town Council applied to Northumberland County Council to designate the civil parish of Berwick-upon-Tweed as a neighbourhood area, with the express purpose of preparing a neighbourhood development plan.

A six-week period of publicity took place between 29 June 2015 and 29 July 2015.

Details of this application can be found below: If you want to make comments on the proposed neighbourhood area you can submit comments by: Alternatively,
Strategic Planning and Housing
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland
NE61 2EF

Comments must have been received by Northumberland County Council on or before 27 July 2015.
Cramlington
Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) screening report
Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is a way of ensuring the environmental implications of policies are taken into account before plans are brought into force. The need for environmental assessment of plans and programmes is set out in legislation.
 
The county council is required to provide a screening opinion to establish whether strategic environmental assessment is required for neighbourhood plans. The final screening report relating to the Cramlington neighbourhood plan is available to download via the link below:  Paper copies can be obtained at the county council offices at County Hall, Morpeth, during office hours. 

Neighbourhood plan
The Cramlington neighbourhood plan area was designated in Feburary 2014 after a period of publicity. Details of the neighbourhood area designation application and decision are available below: Progress with neighbourhood plan preparation
Ellingham

Neighbourhood Area designation application
Ellingham Parish Council applied to designate the civil parish of Ellingham as a neighbourhood area, with the express purpose of preparing a neighbourhood plan.

The application was approved on 25 April 2016 following a period of publicity between 18 March 2016 and 18 April 2016.

Details of this application can be found below:

Ellington & Linton
Neighbourhood Area designation application
Ellington and Linton Parish Council applied to Northumberland County Council to designate the civil parish of Ellington and Linton as a neighbourhood area, with the express purpose of preparing a neighbourhood plan.

The application was approved on 22 March 2016 following a period of publicity between 19 February 2016 and 21 March 2016.

Details of this application can be found below:
Hexham
Hexham Town Council neighbourhood development plan was approved by the council on 22 April 2015 following a six-week period of publicity between 9 January and 20 February 2015.

Details of this application can be found below: Further information on the Hexham neighbourhood plan can be found via the Hexham neighbourhood plan website.
Longhorsley
Longhorsley Parish Council’s application was approved on 30 September 2014 and details can be found below: Progress with neighbourhood plan preparation
Work on the preparation of the plan has now commenced, a drop-in session was held on 18 October 2014 to gather community views.
Lowick

Neighbourhood area designation application
Lowick Parish Council applied to Northumberland County Council to designate the civil parish of Lowick as a neighbourhood area, with the express purpose of preparing a neighbourhood development plan.

The application was approved by Northumberland County Council on 19 June 2015 following a period of publicity between 15 May 2015 and 12 June 2015.

Details of this application can be found below:

Mid Coquetdale
Rothbury Parish Council applied to Northumberland County Council to designate the civil parishes of Cartington, Rothbury, Thropton and Whitton & Tosson as a neighbourhood area.

The parish council is the qualifying body for the purpose of the application and their lead role has been endorsed by the three other parish councils included within the proposed neighbourhood planning area to be known as Mid Coquetdale.

The application was approved on 5 March 2015 following a period of publicity between 4 December 2014 and 29 January 2015. Details can be found below:  A steering group has been established to oversee the preparation of the plan. Work is still in the early stages and some early community consultation took place between 23 April and 22 May 2015 to gather views from the community on the issues the plan should look at.
Morpeth
Formal 'making' of the Morpeth neighbourhood plan
Following the successful referendum, the Morpeth neighbourhood plan was formally 'made' at a meeting of the Council's Cabinet on 10 May 2016.

A decision statement confirming that the Plan has been made and has been brought into legal force has now been published, which can be viewed by clicking on the link below:
Now the neighbourhood plan is formally 'made', it becomes part of the statutory development plan. Consequently, decisions on whether or not to grant planning permission in the Morpeth neighbourhood area will need to be made in accordance with the plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

The final Morpeth neighbourhood plan and proposals maps can be viewed by clicking on the links below:
Result of referendum
A referendum on the Morpeth neighbourhood plan was held on Thursday 25 February 2016. The declaration of results is set out below:
Neighbourhood plan
Morpeth Town Council, in partnership with the neighbouring parish councils of Hebron, Hepscott, Mitford and Pegswood, has prepared a neighbourhood development plan.

Their proposed plan was submitted to us in 2015 and an independent examination was subsequently carried out. The plan will now proceed to a local referendum.

Further information is provided below.


Approval for referendum
An independent examiner has looked at the plan and confirmed that it satisfies all legal requirements. Amendments have been made to the plan in line with the recommendations of the examiner.

The plan will now proceed to local referendum, which will take place on Thursday 25 February 2016.

The referendum version of the plan and a number of supporting documents are available to view below:

Independent examination
The independent examination of the Morpeth neighbourhood development plan has now been completed. The examination report was published on 29 September 2015 and is available via the link below:

Consultation on submission plan
Morpeth Town Council, in partnership with Hebron, Hepscott, Mitford and Pegswood parish councils, submitted their proposed plan to Northumberland County Council and this was publicised from 19 June 2015 to 3 August 2015.

The written comments submitted during this publicity period were passed to the person appointed to carry out the independent examination of the proposed plan.

To view the submission version of the plan, click on the link below:

Neighbourhood area application
The Morpeth neighbourhood area was designated on 28 June 2013. All the details relating to this designation can be found below.

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA)
Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is a way of ensuring the environmental implications of policies are taken into account before plans are brought into force. The need for environmental assessment of plans and programmes is set out in legislation.

Northumberland County Council is required to provide a screening opinion to establish whether strategic environmental assessment is required for neighbourhood plans. This screening opinion on the Morpeth neighbourhood plan is available by clicking on the link below: Hard copies are also available to view at County Hall, Morpeth, during office hours.

Morpeth neighbourhood plan website
Further information on the Morpeth neighbourhood development plan can be found on the Morpeth neighbourhood plan website.

Norham and Islandshire
Neighbourhood Area designation application

Ord Parish Council, in partnership with Ancroft, Duddo, Holy Island, Horncliffe, Kyloe, Norham and Shoreswood parish councils, applied to designate these respective civil parishes as a neighbourhood area (to be known as 'Norham and Islandshire Neighbourhood Area'), with the express purpose of preparing a neighbourhood plan.

The application was approved on 14 June 2016 following a period of publicity between 22 April and 06 June 2016.

Details of the application can be found below:
North Northumberland coastal area

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) screening report
Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is a way of ensuring that the environmental implications of policies are taken into account before plans are brought into force. The need for environmental assessment of plans and programmes is set out in legislation.

The county council is required to provide a screening opinion to establish whether strategic environmental assessment is required for neighbourhood plans. The final screening report relating to the North Northumberland Coastal Area neighbourhood plan is available to download via the link below:


Neighbourhood Area designation application
North Sunderland Parish Council, in partnership with the parishes of Beadnell and Bamburgh applied for the North Northumberland coastal area to be designated as a neighbourhood plan area. The publicity period for the designation application closed on 13 January 2014.

All details on this application can be found below:
Ponteland
Publicity of submission draft Plan 
Ponteland Town Council, as a qualifying body for the purposes of neighbourhood planning for the Ponteland neighbourhood area, have submitted the Ponteland neighbourhood plan to the county council for independent examination. 

The county council is satisfied that the submission is complete and complies with legal requirements. The Plan will now proceed to independent examination. 

In accordance with the regulations, the county council is required to publicise the plan and supporting documents and to invite comments. Copies of the Plan and supporting documents will be available for public inspection for six weeks commencing Friday 21 April until 4pm on Monday 5 June 2017.

Any person or organisation may comment on the Plan or supporting documents. Representations may be made by email to NeighbourhoodPlanning@northumberland.gov.uk or by post to: Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan, Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Team, Planning Services, County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF.

The Plan and supporting documents can be found below:
Neighbourhood area designation
An application for the designation of a neighbourhood area was submitted by Ponteland Town Council. This was subsequently approved by the county council in June 2013. All details can be found below: A neighbourhood plan steering group was set up and is leading on the preparation of the neighbourhood plan, with delegated authority from the town council. The neighbourhood plan group is currently collating evidence and producing subject topic papers to inform the draft plan.
Seaton Valley
Neighbourhood Area designation application
Seaton Valley Community Council applied to Northumberland County Council to designate the civil parish of Seaton Valley as a neighbourhood area, with the express purpose of preparing a neighbourhood development plan.

The application was approved by Northumberland County Council on 15 October 2015 following a period of publicity between 8 September and 6 October 2015.

Details of this application and the decision can be found below:
Stannington
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Screening Report
Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is a way of ensuring the environmental implications of policies are taken into account before plans are brought into force. The need for environmental assessment of plans and programmes is set out in legislation.

The county council is required to provide a screening opinion to establish whether strategic environmental assessment is required for neighbourhood plans. The final screening report relating to the Ponteland neighbourhood plan is available to download via the link below: 

Neighbourhood Plan
Stannington Parish Council submitted an application to designate the civil parish of Stannington as a neighbourhood area in September 2013 and was approved by Northumberland County Council in November 2013.

Details of this application and the decision can be found below: Further information on the Stannington parish neighbourhood plan can be found here. 
Tarset and Greystead
Withdrawal
Tarset and Greystead Parish Council informed Northumberland County Council and Naorthumberland National Park Authority of the withdrawal of the Tarset and Greystead Neighbourhood Development Plan from examination on 20 January 2017.

As a result the plan will not be proceeding to a referendum.

Independent examination
An independent examination of the Tarset and Greystead neighbourhood development plan has now been completed. We will consider the recommendations made by the independent examiner in discussion with the parish council and Northumberland National Park Authrority before deciding whether the plan should progress to referendum.  
Consultation on submission plan
Tarset and Greystead Parish Council submitted their proposed neighbourhood development plan to Northumberland County Council and Northumberland National Park Authority and this was publicised from 2 October 2015 to 16 November 2015. The written comments submitted during this publicity period have been passed to the person appointed to carry out the independent examination of the proposed plan.

To view the submission document, click on the link below:
Neighbourhood area application
Tarset and Greystead Parish Council submitted a neighbourhood area application in January 2013 and this was approved in March 2013. All the details on this application can be found below:

 

Tillside
Neighbourhood area designation application

Tillside Parish Council applied to designate the civil parishes of Chatton, Chillingham and Lilburn as a neighbourhood area, with the express purpose of preparing a neighbourhood plan.

The application was approved on 17 May 2016 following a period of publicity between 30 March 2016 and 11 May 2016.

Details of this application can be found below:
West Bedlington
Neighbourhood Area designation application
West Bedlington Parish Council applied to Northumberland County Council to designate the civil parish of West Bedlington as a neighbourhood area, with the express purpose of preparing a neighbourhood plan.

The application was approved on 3 May 2016 following a period of publicity between 25 March 2016 and 25 April 2016.

Details of this application can be found below:
Whittington
Neighbourhood area designation application
Whittington Parish Council applied to Northumberland County Council to designate the civil parish of Whittington as a neighbourhood area, with the express purpose of preparing a neighbourhood development plan.

The application was approved by Northumberland County Council on 02 March 2016 following a period of publicity between 29 January and 29 February 2016.

Details of this application and the decision can be found below:
Wooler
An application by Wooler Parish Council to designate the civil parish of Wooler as a 'neighbourhood area' was approved by Northumberland County Council on 23 November 2015 following a period of publicity between 9 October 2015 and 20 November 2015.

Details of this application and the decision can be found below: