Evidence & monitoring

On this page you can view our annual monitoring reports together with the evidence & background research which inform planning policy & proposals.

The planning policies and proposals in the Northumberland Local Plan documents 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 these documents.

Please note: any policy recommendations, appraisals or assessments contained in these studies have not been agreed by the council. They will be subject to testing through the preparation of the Core Strategy.

Housing studies

View the different housing studies by clicking on the links below:

The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) provides information about potential future sources of land for housing in Northumberland. It:

  • Identifies sites with potential for housing
  • assesses the sites with housing potential
  • assesses their suitability for housing and the likelihood of development coming forward in the future (the availability and achievability).

The SHLAA is not a policy document and, therefore, does not determine whether a site should be allocated for housing, or granted planning permission. It will inform the emerging Northumberland Local Plan and the Council’s Five Year Supply of Deliverable Sites.

Interim SHLAA Report December 2014

An interim update to the Northumberland SHLAA, published in October 2013, has been prepared which includes the draft methodology consulted upon between 20 August 2014 and 24 September 2014. The report has a base date of 31 March 2014, provides the basis for the Council's Five Year Supply of Deliverable Sites (2014 to 2019), identifies the potential supply of housing land over three periods up to 2029 and beyond, and is a key part of the evidence base for the Northumberland Local Plan.

The location of the SHLAA sites can be identified on a digital map. A traffic light system has been used to identify the category of the site in the overall assessment:

  • Deliverable within 0-5 years, or developable within 6-10 years or 11-15 years (Green)
  • Uncertain (Amber)
  • Discounted (Red)

The site assessments of each site can be viewed in the tables below. These are listed by SHLAA reference number but can be sorted, so sites for a specific area can be identified.

Site Assessment Consultation

The SHLAA site assessment consultation period ran from 20 August 2014 to 24 September 2014 inviting additional and new comments on SHLAA sites which were used to inform the final assessments.

A schedule of comments received during the consultation period and the Council's responses are available below.

The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) assesses the demand and need for market and affordable housing in Northumberland.

The Council is seeking comments on the draft SHMA which was published in December 2013.This report brings together and updates information from the 2010 SHMA, 2012 Housing Need Survey and 2013 SHMA Update and Delivery Area Report, and sets out the Council's approach to establish the objectively assessed need for housing using updated population and household forecasts.  The report can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

Comments on the draft SHMA should be submitted by 11 February 2015 to:

The earlier SHMA reports can be viewed below:


The five year supply of deliverable housing sites report identifies where new housing will be built over a five year period.

To be included in the five year supply the sites must have a realistic expectation of delivering housing in the five year period and could be:

  • Sites with planning permission where work is yet to commence – known as 'extant sites'
  • Sites with planning permission that are under construction but not yet complete – known as 'live sites'
  • Sites without planning permission that may start to deliver within five years.

The latest report covers the period from 2014 to 2019.

Previously published housing supply reports:

A Strategic Land Review was undertaken to establish the amount of land available in each of the main towns and service centres which could be used to support development. The review also identified key constraints.

Part One of the Strategic Land Review was published in October 2013 alongside the Core Strategy Preferred Options for Housing, Employment and Green Belt consultation document. Part two was published alongside the consultation on the Core Strategy Full Draft in December 2014 - It captures new evidence and incorporates the findings of previous consultation. Part one and Part two can be viewed by clicking on the links below: 

The Strategic Land Review has helped to identify potential strategic housing and employment areas in the Core Strategy.

The Gypsies and Travellers Housing Needs Assessment looks at the need for sites and accommodation in Northumberland.

Economy and retail studies

View the studies by clicking on the links below:

The study looks at town centre and retail uses across the county and:

  • assesses the vitality and viability of the town centres
  • identifies town centre and primary shopping area boundaries
  • assesses where new retail floorspace is required.

View copies of the original and updated studies:

CD copies of the 2011 Study can be purchased online here for £1.55 (P&P included).

The appendices to the 2011 study can be viewed below:

Report Appendices

The Northumberland Employment Land Review (ELR) assesses the demand and supply of land for employment use in the county.

ELR report appendices

View the appendices to the main ELR below

Employment Land Review update 2013

To inform the ongoing work on the Northumberland Local Plan, the forecasts for land requirements in the Employment Land Review (January 2011) have been updated to reflect job growth forecasts. The update also indicates the proposed economic role of the employment sites in Northumberland.

Call for the submission of new employment sites

In order to accommodate the level of development proposed in the emerging Core Strategy, additional land for employment uses is required in some locations.

The council  invited the submission of new sites to be considered for employment uses during the consultation which ran from 31 October 2013 to 2 January 2014.  A particular request was made for the submission of sites located in the settlements of Blyth, Hexham, Ponteland and Prudhoe where a shortfall in the availability of existing sites has been identified.

Submissions received during the consultations will be assessed and will help to inform the Core Strategy.

Long-term sectoral employment and land requirement projections

In order to forecast employment land requirements, long-term forecasts of employment have been prepared. These forecasts are used to understand how much land would then be needed for business premises to support the forecasted growth.

Forecasts were originally undertaken in 2010 to inform the Employment Land Review (2011) and were then revised in 2014 to give a post-recession forecast of economic growth between 2011 and 2031.

Long-term sectoral employment and land requirement projections

In order to forecast employment land requirements, long-term forecasts of employment have been prepared. These forecasts are used to understand how much land would then be needed for business premises to support the forecasted growth.

Forecasts were originally undertaken in 2010 to inform the Employment Land Review (2011) and were then revised in 2014 to give a post-recession forecast of economic growth between 2011 and 2031.

Population forecasting studies

View the studies by clicking on the links below:

These documents present forecasts of future changes in population and household numbers.

The first document presents demographic projections at the county level. The second document splits the county into 34 small population areas and presents demographic projections at the local level.

These have been used to inform the policy approach in the Core Strategy and to inform the preferred levels of development in the main towns and service centres.

This study uses the population and household forecasts to produce a number of different scenarios of how the population will change over time and how this relates to the number of new homes built.

The scenarios are presented by Delivery Area with the preferred scenario highlighted for each main town, service centre and the rural areas.

Flooding and water environment studies

View the studies by clicking on the links below:

The study looks at flood risk from rivers, sea, groundwater and sewers to identify areas susceptible to flooding. The study also assesses the risk of flooding of potential development sites.

Work on the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment is ongoing but the Level 1 SFRA is complete.

Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment

This study examines sources of flood risk and identifies key areas with a high risk of flooding.

View the report below. Alternatively, CD copies can be purchased online here for £1.55 (P&P included).

View the appendices to the report below:

Appendix A: Historical flood events

Appendix B1: Detailed maps covering the administrative area of Northumberland County Council

Appendix B2: Flood Zone Confidence Maps

Appendix B3: Areas susceptible to surface water flooding maps

Appendix B4: Sewer Flooding Risk Map

Appendix C: Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

Appendix D: Data Register

Appendix E: Contacts

Appendix F: GIS Data

Appendix G: Groundwater Vulnerability and Geology Mapping

Appendix H: Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Maintenance and Update

Appendix I: Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Version Register

This study looks at the capacity of wastewater treatment works and the sewer network to accommodate an increase in wastewater from any potential new development.

The study also examines available water resources and flooding.

View the Outline Water Cycle Study

Due to the size of the document and for ease of downloading, the figures and maps within the main report have been removed and can be viewed below. A copy of the full report is available upon request.

Maps and Figures

Landscape and green spaces studies

View the studies by clicking on the links below:

The Assessment looks at the character of the landscape e.g. how nature has influenced it, what it has looked like historically and what things make it distinctive.

There are two parts to the study:

Part A - Landscape Classification

This study provides an understanding of the 44 different character types and the 108 Landscape Character Areas.

The map and associated descriptions provide a good background to understanding landscape and its local distinctiveness and provide a baseline against which change can be assessed.

Part B - The Changing Landscape

This study sets out principles for each landscape character type. The principles seek to maintain and enhance the properties most valued in the landscape.

CD copies of this study can be purchased online here for £1.55 (P&P included).

This study looks at the sensitivity of the Landscape Character Areas in Northumberland to a number of key land-uses and major changes that may threaten their character.

The study is spilt into four parts each looking at separate land-use planning issues currently affecting Northumberland. View each study below:

Green Infrastructure is a term used to describe a network of green spaces and the connections between them. Green infrastructure can have multiple uses including recreation and wildlife habitat.

This strategy identifies the green infrastructure network in Northumberland and sets out recommendations on how the network and its connections can be maintained, protected and enhanced.

This assessment examines all open space, sport and recreational provision within Northumberland and proposes the establishment of local open space standards.

Green Belt studies

View the studies by clicking on the links below:


The Green Belt Review Methodology document sets out the approach that will be followed to identify areas for removal from the Green Belt in order to accommodate the required level of development to deliver the preferred approach in the Core Strategy.

The Council has previously consulted on the methodology for reviewing Green Belt boundaries alongside consultation on the Core Strategy Preferred Options (stage 2) document.

The methodology for reviewing Green Belt boundaries has now been updated to reflect feedback from the consultation and can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

Review of Green Belt settlements

The Green Belt Settlement Assessments document sets out the assessments that have been carried out to date for the Main Towns and Service Centres within the Green Belt following this methodology.

A Green Belt review of other Green Belt settlements, including those which fall within the Green Belt extension was commenced early in 2014. The work done to date is set out in the document 'Small Settlements and the Green Belt'.

The 'Green Belt Appendix' brings all the assessments together into one document and includes the comprehensive mapping work.

The Morpeth Outer Green Belt Boundary Report sets out the background, methodology and emerging approach in relation to defining the detailed outer Green Belt boundaries for the extension around Morpeth.

Energy studies

View the study by clicking on the link below:

The Northumberland Renewable, Low Carbon Energy Generation and Energy Efficiency Study assesses capacity for wind energy, biomass and other renewable energy sources and is split into three parts:

  • Part A on energy efficiency and sustainable construction
  • Part B on how delivery of a low carbon Northumberland can be enabled
  • Part C on how new policies might be set out and delivered.

CD copies of this study can be purchased online here for £1.55 (P&P included).

Minerals and waste studies

View the studies by clicking on the links below:

The North East England Waste Arisings and Waste Management Capacity Study was jointly commissioned by Northumberland County Council, Durham County Council and the five Tyne and Wear councils (Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland).

The study:

  • forecasts waste arisings to 2030 for the commercial and industrial and hazardous waste streams
  • compares the waste forecasts to existing and planned waste management capacity to identify if there is a gap

This study was informed by the North East England Commercial and Industrial Waste Survey, which was commissioned by the North East Sustainable Resources Board (NESRB).

View the North East England Commercial and Industrial Waste Survey Report here(March 2011)

The Local Aggregates Assessment is prepared on an annual basis.

Its purpose is to assist in planning for a steady and adequate supply of aggregate minerals by assessing future supply requirements and options for supplying these minerals.

View the Joint Local Aggregates Assessment for County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear

The North East Aggregates Working Party is one of a number of similar working parties throughout England and Wales established to collect data on:

  • the sales of aggregate minerals
  • the reserves of aggregate minerals covered by valid planning permissions
  • the landbanks of reserves.

Membership is drawn from Mineral Planning Authorities, central Government and the aggregates industry.

Annual Aggregates Monitoring

Information on the sales and reserves of aggregate minerals from Northumberland and North East England is collected annually and is published is an Annual Aggregates Monitoring Report.

Survey work is currently underway to collect aggregates sales and reserve information for 2014 and the Annual Aggregates Monitoring Report for 2014 will be published in due course.

Recommended apportionment of national guidelines for aggregates provision

National and Regional Guidelines for Aggregates Provision in England are published by central government.

To take the national and regional guidelines into account in the preparation of development plans the guidelines need to be broken down, as far as possible, to Mineral Planning Authority areas.

Work was carried out by the North East Aggregates Working Party to provide technical advice on how the guideline figure for North East England should be apportioned to the Mineral Planning Authorities.

The report detailing the recommendations and the alternatives considered are detailed in the report below:

Apportionment of North East England Guidelines for Aggregates Provision, 2005-2020: Environmental Report

Environmental appraisal report

Consultants were commissioned to undertake an environmental appraisal of aggregate supply scenarios for North East England. The final report and its appendices can be viewed below:

Infrastucture studies

View the infrastructure study below:

The Strategic Infrastructure Study includes:

  • the identification of new infrastructure needs and costs;
  • phasing of development;
  • funding sources; and
  • responsibilities for delivery

View the Strategic Infrastructure Study - Baseline and Options Assessment (December 2012)

Monitoring reports

We publish topic based monitoring reports throughout the year to review our performance, report on our activities and assess the success of current planning policies.

Monitoring reports used to be published on an annual basis. However we now publish topic based reports as and when they are ready.

This means information can be read as soon as it is available and we hope it makes it easier to read and digest.