Northumberland Local Plan (Core Strategy)

Northumberland Local Plan (Core Strategy)

The Northumberland local plan is a collection of documents containing planning policies used to assess applications and guide the location of future development in the county.

Local plan - core strategy

The core strategy will provide the overarching planning policies that will guide where future development takes place.

The Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy was submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for independent examination on 7 April 2017 and the examination is in progress.

At its Council meeting on 5 July 2017, Northumberland County Council is to consider a motion to formally withdraw the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy from the independent examination process and undertake a full review of the proposed housing and employment numbers and strategic land use allocations.

As a result of the motion, all activity on the examination process has been suspended until the outcome of the motion to withdraw the Core Strategy is known. The papers for the Council meeting can be accessed via the following link:

Submission documents
The submission plan comprises the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy Pre-Submission Draft (October 2015) as amended by: A consolidated document showing the modifications proposed to the Core Strategy Pre-Submission Draft can be viewed by clicking on the link below:
Links to the above Core Strategy documents and supporting documents can be viewed by clicking on the link below. The documents include the Sustainability Appraisal, Habitats Regulations Assessment, Statement of Consultation, evidence documents and copies of representations in response to the consultation on the pre-submission draft and proposed modifications.
Examination
*** IMPORTANT UPDATE***
At its Council meeting on 5 July 2017, Northumberland County Council is to consider a motion to formally withdraw the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy from the independent examination process and undertake a full review of the proposed housing and employment numbers and strategic land use allocations.

As a result of the motion, all activity on the examination process has been suspended until the outcome of the motion to withdraw the Core Strategy is known. The papers for the Council meeting can be accessed via the following link:

The examination process to date:

Mr Roger Clews, who is a chartered town planner, is the inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to carry out the examination of the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy. 
 
The inspector’s role is to determine whether or not the Core Strategy is sound and complies with all the relevant legal requirements. In making this assessment he will take into account all the responses that have been made in response to consultation on the Core Strategy Pre-Submission Draft (October 2015), the Schedule of proposed major modifications (June 2016) and the Schedule of proposed further major modifications (November 2016).
 
Hearing sessions will form part of the examination and will begin on Tuesday 26 September 2017.  Preliminary details of the hearing sessions will be published in June and a detailed programme will be published in July 2017.

Up-to-date information and documents relating to the examination can be found on the examination website, which can be accessed using the link below.
Pre-submission draft and major modifications consultations
1. Pre-Submission Draft (October 2015)
Consultation on the pre-submission draft of the core strategy took place between 14 October 2015 and 25 November 2015.

To find out more about this consultation, click on the link below: During the consultation period, drop-in sessions were held in the main towns and service centres. Planning staff attended to discuss the consultation document and provide advice on how to reply to the consultation. The display boards from the consultation events can be viewed by clicking on the link below.  
2. Major modifications (June 2016)
Consultation on major modifications to the pre-submission draft of the core strategy took place between 15 June 2016 and 27 July 2016.
 
Major modifications were proposed to a number of the policies and the supporting text in the Core Strategy prior to submission for independent examination to address a range of issues raised during the consultation on the pre-submission draft in 2015.
 
The consultation document and the comments received in response to the consultation can be viewed by clicking on the links below: Due to the level of modifications proposed in the consultation document for Morpeth and Hexham, drop-in sessions in these towns on Wednesday 6 July 2016 and Thursday 7 July 2016 respectively. The display boards from these drop-in sessions can be viewed by clicking on the links below:  
3. Further major modifications (November 2016)
Consultation on further major modifications to the pre-submission draft of the Core Strategy took place between 11 November 2016 and 23 December 2016.

The further major modifications were proposed to address some changed circumstances regarding the mix of employment land and housing land in Morpeth and to take account of the council's support for a 'Garden Village' proposal at Dissington. Due to the level of modifications proposed in the consultation document for Morpeth and the area in and around Ponteland. The display boards from these drop-in sessions can be viewed by clicking on links below: Alongside the consultation on the further major modifications, a consultation on a revised draft of a supplementary planning document for South East Ponteland is taking place. This draft SPD has been prepared to provide further detail  in relation to the Green Belt release and allocation of land to the south east of Ponteland set out in the emerging Core Strategy.
Previous consultations - full draft plan, preferred options and issues and options

1. Issues and options consultation
Consultation on the core strategy issues and options document took place between 23 May and 15 August 2012. This consultation was the first formal stage in preparing the core strategy.

The comments submitted in response to the issues and options consultation have all been read, analysed and used to inform the approach and draft policies in the preferred options document.

2. Preferred options (stage one) consultation
Stage one of the preferred options consultation took place between 6 February and 20 March 2013.


3. Preferred options (stage two) consultation
Stage two of the consultation looked at preferred options for housing, employment and green belt. This consultation took place between 31 October 2013 and 2 January 2014.


4. Full draft plan consultation
Consultation on the full draft plan took place between 12 December 2014 and 11 February 2015.

This consultation provided an opportunity to comment on the draft policy approaches and draft planning policies that had been updated to reflect ongoing evidence base work and comments received during previous rounds of consultation.

What the core strategy will do
When complete, the core strategy will provide planning policies to:
  • guide where future development takes place up to 2031
  • guide how proposals for new developments will be assessed
  • provide the policies to help protect Northumberland's environment
  • set out the general scale and distribution of new development
  • set out strategic allocations for housing and employment
The policies will guide the location of:
  • new housing
  • new business premises
  • retail developments
  • community facilities, such as facilities for healthcare and education
  • renewable energy development
  • mineral extraction
  • waste management facilities
The strategy will also include policies seeking to protect the natural and historic environment of Northumberland. It is the principal policy document in the Northumberland local plan and will be supported by the Northumberland local plan delivery document.

Progress on preparing the core strategy
On 7 April 2017 the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy was submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for independent examination. Up-to-date information and documents relating to the examination can be found on the examination website, which can be accessed using the link below. How to get involved
The statement of community involvement sets out how we will involve local people and organisations in the process of preparing the core strategy. Our consultation website also holds our consultation documents, as well as submitted comments. During consultation periods, comments can be made via the site.
Timetable for preparing the core strategy
The timetable for the preparation of the Core Strategy can be viewed in the Local Development Scheme 2016 to 2019.

The key dates are summarised below:
  • Consultation on Pre-Submission Core Strategy: Proposed Further Major Modifications -  11 November 2016 to 23 December 2016
  • Consideration of responses and preparation of a submission draft Core Strategy - December 2016 to January 2017
  • Full Council considers the submission draft Core Strategy - February 2017
  • Submission - 7 April 2017
  • Examination - Summer 2017
  • Adoption - December 2017
Evidence base information
The planning policies and proposals in the core strategy must be based on robust and credible evidence and research. A number of background and research studies are therefore being undertaken to help support and inform the preparation of the core strategy.
Sustainability appraisal
The sustainability appraisal is a process used to assess the social, economic and environmental impacts of a planning policy or proposal and ensure they are taken into account when a planning policy/proposal is developed.

The sustainability appraisal is an important part of the preparations for the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy.

The sustainability appraisals relating to the preparation Core Strategy are available to view below:

Submission:
Pre-submission and major modifications stages:    
Early stages:
Habitats regulations assessment
The purpose of a habitats regulations assessment is to assess possible effects of policies proposed in the core strategy on the nature conservation interests of sites designated under the habitats and wild birds directives.

These sites consist of special areas of conservation, special protection areas. They also include Ramsar sites.

The habitats regulations assessments that have been produced in support of the preparation of the core strategy can be viewed below:
Viability assessment
As we prepare the core strategy, it is vital we look at it closely and critically to ensure the policies and proposals are viable. To do this we are undertaking a viability assessment.

Earlier consultations on the viability assessment
We consulted on the viability assessment process from 31 October 2013 until 2 January 2014. View the consultation paper here.

Work has since progressed on the assessment, which has been extended to also examine the community infrastructure levy. An interim report, with preliminary findings, has been published for consultation between 12 December 2014 and 11 February 2015. Click here to view

A draft Viability Assessment, with associated appendices, was published for consultation between 14 October 2015 and 25 November 2015. Click here to view.

Consultation on draft final viability assessment
A draft final report, with supporting evidence (including accompanying reports from the District Valuer Service (DVS) and a report on Housing Delivery in low and medium value areas), has been published for consultation between 15 June 2016 and 27 July 2016. The report and accompanying documents can be viewed by clicking on the links below.
Additional report on Dissington Garden Village proposal
Following the incorporation of the Dissington Garden Village proposal into the Core Strategy as a further major modification it has been deemed appropriate to undertake a viability appraisal on the proposed Garden Village. This aim of this appraisal is to determine the viability of the proposed Garden Village and identify the impact of the proposal on housing markets in the local area. The report can be viewed by using the link below.
Equality impact assessment
Equality impact assessment is a way of considering how the policies proposed in the core strategy might impact on different groups protected in law and ensure the policies do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, age or disability. These have been produced in support of the preparation for the core strategy and can be viewed below:
Duty to co-operate statement
When preparing the Local Plan we have a legal obligation to co-operate with other local planning authorities and other bodies with statutory functions on matters of strategic importance. This is referred to as the 'Duty to Cooperate'.

We are required to give details of the cooperation that has taken place each year and what action has been taken, as part of our monitoring.

The duty to co-operate statement sets out the strategic issues relevant to Northumberland, and details discussions that are taking place to resolve these issues. 

Local plan - delivery document

The delivery document will allocate sites for new housing and other developments, as well as setting out detailed policies to assess planning applications. Consultation on the revised scoping document for the delivery document took place between 12 December 2014 and 11 February 2015. This consultation is now closed.

What the delivery document will do
The delivery document will include:
  • detailed land allocations and designations, as well as site specific proposals for the buildings, infrastructure and services to deliver the proposals in the core strategy
  • detailed policies to guide the assessment of planning applications
  • a proposals map identifying land allocations and designations
The document plan will include site proposals for new development including:
  • housing
  • economic and employment land
  • retailing
  • infrastructure and community facilities
  • mineral extraction
  • new or enhanced waste management facilities 
Scoping document consultation

Revised scoping document consultation
This was the second stage of consultation on the proposed purpose and scope of the Northumberland local plan delivery document. Consultation took place between 12 December 2014 and 11 February 2015.

Previous consultation
A scoping consultation document set out the proposed scope and purpose of the delivery document and sought views on whether this is appropriate. The consultation ran from 31 October 2013 to 2 January 2014.

Statement of community involvement
The statement of community involvement sets out how we will consult and involve local people and businesses in preparing local planning policies and considering planning applications.

Local development scheme

The local development scheme sets out which documents make up the Northumberland local plan and the timetable for the preparation of these documents.

About the local development scheme
A revised Local Development Scheme 2016 to 2019 was approved in November 2016, replacing the March 2016 version.

The Local Development Scheme sets out that the following documents will be produced as part of the Northumberland Local Plan: It is no longer proposed to progress the Berwick eastern arc area action plan. The work covered by this action plan will now be incorporated into the delivery document.

When the documents will be produced?
Timetables for the preparation of the documents can be viewed in the Local Development Scheme 2016 to 2019.
Superseded local development schemes

Supplementary planning documents

The council prepares supplementary planning documents to give greater detail on current policies where necessary. They also provide guidance and advice to assist in considering and determining planning applications.

Consultation on a revised draft of a supplementary planning document for South East Ponteland is taking place between 11 November 2016 and 23 December 2016. Further information can be found below.

South East Ponteland SPD
Purpose of this SPD
This draft SPD has been prepared to provide further detail  in relation to the Green Belt release and allocation of land to the south east of Ponteland set out in the emerging Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy.

Current consultation
An initial draft of this SPD was the subject of consultation alongside the pre-submission draft of the Core Strategy in October and November 2015. Following feedback and changes to the education and leisure proposals, the SPD has been re-drafted and this revised draft is being consulted upon between 11 November 2016 to 23 December 2016.

To view the consultation document and the supporting documents and for details on how to respond to the consultation, please click on the link below:
Previous consultation - October and November 2015
Consultation on an initial draft of the South East Ponteland SPD took place between 14 October 2015 and 25 November 2015.
The consultation document and the comments submitted during the consultation can be viewed by clicking on the link below:   The below documents have been used to inform the November 2016 consultation document.
Next steps
Appropriate amendments will be made to the SPD following feedback from this consultation. Following the consultation the Council will consider if there is a need for any further consultation prior to the adoption of the SPD alongside the Core Strategy.
 
Renewable Energy SPD
Purpose of this SPD
We are proposing to prepare a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to provide further detail on the planning policies for renewable energy in the emerging Core Strategy.
 
Consultation on Scoping Document
The Scoping Document sets out the Council's initial views on the scope and content of the proposed SPD. Consultation on this took place between 15 June 2016 and 27 July 2016 and feedback was sought on its content prior to preparing a draft SPD for consultation.

The consultation document and the comments received can be viewed by clicking on the link below. Next steps
The comments received from this consultation will be used to inform the contents of a draft Renewable Energy SPD. This draft document will be published for public consultation and this will provide an opportunity to comment on it before it is finalised.
View proposed supplementary planning documents
In addition to the south east Ponteland SPD, the council is proposing to prepare the following supplementary planning documents to provide additional guidance on the policies contained in the Northumberland local plan:
  • affordable housing
  • renewable
  • design
Work on the preparation of these documents has yet to commence and a date for work to start on these documents has not yet been identified.

Annual monitoring report

The council carries out monitoring to help understand how well the current planning policies are working. Monitoring is important to help inform the preparation of planning policies and decisions on planning applications.