Neighbourhood Plan 'made' for Seaton Valley
14 Sep 2021
Residents of Seaton Valley now have more of a say over future development in their parish, following the adoption of a neighbourhood plan for their area.
The Seaton Valley Neighbourhood Plan will now form part of the statutory development plan for Northumberland, meaning that future planning decisions in the parish will be made in line with policies in them, unless ‘material’ considerations indicate otherwise.
The county council, as the local planning authority, has a statutory or legal duty to support any local community preparing a neighbourhood plan. This work is done through planning officers in the council’s Neighbourhood Planning Team.
The Plan passed independent examination in May and was officially adopted, or ‘made’, at a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s cabinet this week. It will now form a key part of the planning process for this area.
The Plan focusses on the protection of open spaces in Holywell, New Hartley, Seaton Delaval, Seaton Sluice and Seghill. This was a priority identified by Seaton Valley Community Council following consultation and engagement with the local communities across the area. Planning officers from the County Council’s Neighbourhood Planning Team worked closely with the Community Council to help create the planning policies that give protection from built development to important open spaces in the five villages.
A local referendum held in the parish of Seaton Valley on 29 July 2021 returned a majority vote in favour of using the Plan to make decisions on planning applications.
Councillor Colin Horncastle, cabinet member for community services at Northumberland County Council, said: "This neighbourhood plan is testament to the hard work of many dedicated people in this community, and I am very pleased to see it come into effect.
David Ferguson is the County Councillor for Hartley and a member of the Community Council. He said:
“The Community Council has engaged with residents and, with the support of our Neighbourhood Planning Team, has produced a plan that deals with the locally-important issue of providing greater protection to the valued open spaces across Seaton Valley.”
Work is under way on the preparation of neighbourhood plans in over 20 other parishes across Northumberland, while 15 neighbourhood plans are already in place. The Neighbourhood Planning Team continues to provide dedicated help and practical support to all the local parish councils involved in neighbourhood planning.