Image demonstrating Northumberland Local Plan hearings begin

Northumberland Local Plan hearings begin

The next stage in completion of a Local Plan for the whole of Northumberland gets underway this week (from 8 October)  - when examination hearing sessions begin.

The Northumberland Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in May this year, and the next stage is public ‘examination’ by an independent planning inspector.

Susan Heywood BSc (Hons) MCD MRTPI has been appointed by the Secretary of State to carry out the examination, and she has published a programme for the hearings.

The local plan includes the planning policies that will guide and determine future planning applications in Northumberland, details the scale and distribution of new development, and includes land allocations and designations.

It has been designed to grow and diversify the economy of Northumberland and through the plan the council aims to enable the creation of 15,000 new jobs in the county by 2036.

The inspector’s role is to decide whether the plan is ‘sound’ and complies with all the relevant legal requirements. In doing this she will take into account all of the comments that were made on the publication draft version.

The hearings will be in two phases, with phase 1 sessions during the weeks beginning 7th, 21st and 28th October and the phase 2 sessions in early 2020.  They are being held at Morpeth Town Hall and run between 10am and 5pm on each scheduled day.

Anyone can attend and listen to the hearings, but only those who made a formal objection to the plan have the right to speak.  Everyone who made an objection has been contacted, and arrangements for those who will appear at the hearings made by the inspector.  Those taking part will include representatives of parish councils, development professionals, residents and other interested parties.

The inspector’s documents stress that written representations carry as much weight as evidence given at the hearing sessions.  

All information relating to the examination can be found on website at:

Since the draft plan was submitted to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate in May there have been ongoing dialogue with the council, including answers to a series of questions, which is all part of the process of examination by Government.

Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member responsible for planning at Northumberland County Council said:  “We know that having a robust local plan in place is very important to Northumberland communities and the council has put a number of measures in place to accelerate its production.

“These hearings mark the next important stage in its completion and we will continue to work closely with the planning inspector to make sure that she has all of the information that she needs to examine the plan.” 

Councillor Peter Jackson, leader of council, added:  “These hearings are the next milestone in delivering a local plan which will ensure a strong and vibrant future for Northumberland.  

“Through the plan we will ensure that the county is a great place to live, work and visit, and that we truly address the future needs of our communities.  

“It sends out a strong message that Northumberland has ambitious plans for growth, while also protecting everything that is special about the area.

“We have been determined to make sure that development takes place where it is needed, and to plan for a sustainable and prosperous future for our wonderful county.”
You can find out all about the local plan at
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