Northumberland Local Plan Phase 2 hearings get underway
20 Oct 2020
The next stage in completion of a Local Plan for the whole of Northumberland has got underway this week, with Phase 2 of public examination hearings beginning today (Tues 20 October).
The Northumberland Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in May last year, and the next stage was this public ‘examination’ by an independent planning inspector.
Susan Heywood BSc (Hons) MCD MRTPI was appointed by the Secretary of State to carry out the examination, and she ran Phase 1 hearings in October/November last year and February 2020.
Phase 2 hearings were due to take place earlier this year, however the onset of Covid-19 has inevitably impacted on the timescale and the way in which the hearings can take place, and these sessions will be held virtually and live-streamed on Northumberland County Council’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/NorthumberlandTV.
The Phase 2 sessions are taking place on 20, 21, 22 and 27, 28 and 29 October and 10, 11, 12 and 17, 18 and 19 November, and are due to run between 10am and 3:30pm on each scheduled day.
Subjects to be covered in the hearings include Quality of Place, Environment, Housing Land Supply, Housing Allocated Sites, Open Space Sites and Connectivity and Movement.
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.
Anyone with an interest in the plan can watch the hearings live, however only those who made a formal objection have the right to speak. Everyone who made an objection has been contacted, and arrangements for those who will be able to take part in the hearings made by the inspector.
Those taking part include representatives of parish councils, development professionals, residents and other interested parties.
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 I am pleased to see this next phase of hearings get underway.
“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.”
The Inspector asked that consultation be carried out on the additional evidence requested by her as a result of the Phase 1 hearing sessions and this took place between 13 July and 7 September 2020.
After the Phase 2 hearings are complete there will be a further period of public consultation on any modifications to the plan, prior to the Northumberland Local Plan being formally ‘adopted’.