Studies and evidence reports

This page provides details on a range of studies and background information relevant to informing planning applications and which may also be of value to other organisations and communities.

This section includes a number of studies and evidence reports that relate to growth strategy and spatial strategy.

New Government guidance establishes a standardised methodology for calculating the minimum Local Housing Need, based on the latest official Office of National Statistics population and household projections (updated every two years) and affordability ratios of average house prices compared to earnings (updated annually). However, the guidance also provides for local authorities to establish higher housing requirements in local plans where justified, such as to support economic growth.

The Housing and Economic Growth Options report examines alternative economic growth scenarios for the County’s employment land requirements in the Northumberland Local Plan, and the corresponding levels of housing requirements that would be necessary to support the increased population and numbers of households. 
The Northumberland Demographic Analysis and Forecasts (County Level and Sub-County Level) presents population and household forecasts, based on different demographic scenarios, using a range of migration and economic assumptions. However, more recent growth scenarios analysis is now presented in the above Housing & Economic Growth Options findings report (June 2018).
The Northumberland green belt review sets out the Council’s approach to assessing how areas of the existing and proposed green belt contribute to green belt purposes, as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The review has been amended to reflect feedback received. The green belt review complements the strategic land review, strategic housing land availability appraisal and sustainability appraisal documents.
This report sets out the background, methodology and emerging approach in relation to defining the detailed outer green belt boundaries for the extension around Morpeth. Click here to view Morpeth Outer Green Belt Boundary Report (October 2013).
This technical paper provides a summary of the Green Belt Review process undertaken and outlines the rationale supporting changes that are proposed to the Green Belt. 
This section includes a number of studies and evidence reports that relate to economic development and employment land.

The Employment Land Review assesses the demand and supply of land for employment use in the county. It comprises of the following documents:
The Employment Land and Premises Demand Study is a review of the market demand for land and premises for industrial, office and warehouse development across Northumberland. The recommended changes to the employment land portfolio in the employment land review (2011) were reviewed in relation to the evidence in the report and new recommendations made where appropriate. Click here to view the Employment Land and Premises Demand Study (July 2015).
The Employment Land Take-Up Study reviews take up of land on allocated employment sites for industrial, office and warehousing development, and the use of land for other commercial operations or non-employment land uses. Click here to view the Employment Land Take Up Study 1999-2017 (Published March 2018).
The Employment Sites Schedule is part of a regular monitoring exercise undertaken annually by the County Council’s Spatial Planning & Delivery team. Information is based on sites monitored within the former district/borough Local Plans, Core Strategies and those allocated more recently in 'made' Neighbourhood Development Plans (based on a year end date of 31st March). This data includes the site allocation itself, and plots and units within each site. Included are details on occupiers, vacancies, floorspace and site, unit and plot size.

The schedule can be viewed by as a PDF file of containing the tables for each of the sites or using an online mapping tool. Details are as follow:

Click here to view the Employment Site Schedule 2016/17 (Published March 2018).
Click here to view the Mapping Tool for the Employment Sites Schedule 2016/17 (Published March 2018).

An analysis report of the data included in the Employment Sites Schedule is also available. Click here to view the Employment Site Schedule 2016/17 - Analysis Report (Published March 2018).
This section includes a number of studies and evidence reports that relate to retail and town centres.

The Town Centres and Retail Study looks at town centre and retail uses across Northumberland to assess the vitality and viability of the town centres, identify town centre and primary shopping area boundaries, alongside assess where new retail floor space is required. Below are the original and updated studies:

Northumberland Town Centre and Retail Study 2011 (Original)

‚ÄčNorthumberland Town Centre and Retail Study (2013 update)
Northumberland Town Centre and Retail Study (2016 update)
This section provides the housing studies and evidence reports that formulate the planning policies and proposals in the Northumberland Local Plan.

Further information about the Council's wider housing strategies and policies can be found here.
The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) examines the County’s housing market, identifying the needs and demands for ‘market’ and ‘affordable’ homes and housing for older and vulnerable people, in order to help inform the Council's Local Plan and Housing Strategy. Further information about affordable housing can be found here.
Local Housing Need Assessments complement the SHMA by providing local evidence about affordable housing need and the housing mix required. The assessments support the implementation of housing policies in the emerging Northumberland Local Plan and the development and implementation of policies in Neighbourhood Plans.

The following local housing needs assessments have been prepared: Other local housing needs studies have been prepared but these have not been commissioned by the Council.
The Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment looks at the needs for sites and accommodation for gypsies and travellers pitches and travelling showpeople plots in Northumberland.  Further information about Gypsy and Traveller sites in Northumberland can be found here.
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 and 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 informs the Council’s five year supply of deliverable sites, and identifies the potential supply of housing land over at least the next 15 years.

Northumberland SHLAA and Five-Year Housing Land Supply of Deliverable Sites (September 2019) The location and summary assessment of all SHLAA sites of at least 0.2 hectares or more, or 5 dwellings or more indicative capacity can be viewed using the Council's online Digital Map System (updated September 2019 SHLAA map coming soon).
Brownfield land is land that has been previously developed and occupied by a permanent building or structure. It can include land that is currently occupied by existing buildings and structures as well as vacant sites that have now been cleared.

The Northumberland Brownfield Land Register and accompanying sites map outlines how much brownfield land the Council has identified as being potentially suitable and achievable for delivering housing development within the next 15 years, as informed by the site assessments carried out as part of the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) and five-year supply of deliverable sites.

There are two parts to the Brownfield Land Register:
  • Part 1 comprises all brownfield sites (of 0.25 hectares or five dwellings or more) assessed to be appropriate for residential development. Inclusion on Part 1 of the Register does not mean that planning permission has been granted, nor does the inclusion of a site on the Register give any additional weight or status if an application for planning permission is made.
  • Part 2 includes those Part 1 sites granted planning Permission in Principle (PiP). There are no such sites currently entered on Part 2 of the Northumberland Register. 

The Brownfield Land Register is made available in different formats, along with an explanatory information sheet, while the sites can be viewed on the Council's Digital Map System: 
The net additional homes report provides summary details of the number of dwellings built in Northumberland each year, including the number of affordable homes built and the number of homes built on previously developed ‘brownfield’ land.
Previous versions of the net additional homes reports can be viewed below:
This section includes a number of studies and evidence reports that relate to transport, connectivity and movement.

The Transport Assessment quantifies the traffic generation associated with future development and provides an assessment of the impact of the Local Plan sites at several key junctions in various settlements in Northumberland.

This Mitigation Report provides a summary of those junctions that are anticipated to require physical improvements to enable future development growth to be accommodated and explores a range of potential options and their resulting impact. This Mitigation Report should be read in conjunction with the Northumberland Local Plan Transport Assessment, December 2018, and acts as a continuation of that report.
The Transport Assessment has been prepared to support the Local Plan and to establish the traffic implications of delivering the countywide growth aspirations associated with the proposed residential, employment and minerals extraction Local Plan allocations for the Local Plan period. 
This section provides the landscape and green space studies and evidence reports that formulate the planning policies and proposals in the Northumberland Local Plan.

The Landscape Character Assessment looks at the character of the landscape, how nature has influenced it, what it has looked like historically and what things make it distinctive. The study is divided into two parts.

Part A - Landscape Classification
Part A provides an understanding of the 44 different character types and the 108 landscape character areas. The map and associated descriptions provide a background to understanding landscape and its local distinctiveness, and provide a baseline against which change can be assessed. Below are the list of documents:

Part B - The Changing Landscape
Part B sets out principles for each landscape character type. The principles seek to maintain and enhance the properties most valued in the landscape.
Northumberland Key Land Use Impact Study study looks at the sensitivity of the landscape character areas in Northumberland to a number of key landuses and major changes that may threaten their character. The study is split into four parts, which each looking at separate land-use planning issues currently affecting Northumberland.

Northumberland Key Land Use Impact Study (September 2010)
This section provides the flooding and water environment studies and evidence reports that formulate the planning policies and proposals in the Northumberland Local Plan.

The Level 2 SFRA provides a more detailed of assessment of areas that have previously been identified as potential development locations in the Northumberland Local Plan. Click here to view the Level 2 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Report (October 2015).
The Outline Water Cycle Study looks at the capacity of wastewater treatment works and the sewer network to accommodate an increase in waste water from any potential new development, as well as available water resources and flooding. Click here to view Northumberland Outline Water Cycle Study Report (May 2012).
In addition to the aforementioned Outline Water Cycle Study, a Detailed Water Cycle Study has been conducted to identify in detail the constraints on planned housing and employment growth and identifies any mitigation required to facilitate development. Below are the documents for the study:
This section includes a number of studies and evidence reports that relate to minerals.

A Local Aggregates Assessment (LAA) is prepared on an annual basis and its purpose is to assist in planning for a steady and adequate supply of aggregate minerals by assessing future demand and supply of these minerals. It is prepared jointly by the eight mineral planning authorities in County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. The most recent version uses sales and reserves data from 2017. Click here to view the Joint LAA for County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear (December 2018).

Previous versions of the LAA are provided for information and can be viewed by clicking on the links below:
Environmental Considerations & Mineral Resources Study looks at the environmental considerations that could affect the location of future mineral extraction in Northumberland. Click here to view the Environmental Considerations & Mineral Resources Study (November 2011).
North East Aggregates Working Party is one of a number of similar working parties throughout England and Wales. Membership is drawn from mineral planning authorities, central government and the aggregates industry. It is established to collect data on the sales of aggregate minerals, the reserves of aggregate minerals covered by valid planning permissions and the land banks of reserves.

Annual Aggregates Monitoring
Information on the sales and reserves of aggregate minerals form Northumberland and North East England is collected annually and published an annual monitoring reoprt. The most up-to-date report includes sales and reserves information for 2017.
Earlier versions of the monitoring reports can be viewed below:

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 authorities’ areas.

Work was conducted 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. Click here to view the 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. Click here to view the Environmental Appraisal of Aggregates Supply Scenarios for North East England (February 2006).
This technical paper report provides details of the sites that have been considered as allocations for aggregate minerals in the emerging Local Plan in order to meet the identified needs for these minerals. The technical paper provides background on the need for the allocations, the ‘call for sites’ process and the assessment of the sites put forward for consideration. 
This technical paper report provides details of the approach to the identification of Mineral Safeguarding Areas in the emerging Local Plan.
This section includes a number of studies and evidence reports that relate to waste management.

Low level radioactive waste can be produced by hospitals, educational establishments, commercial laboratories and manufacturing processes. To understand the quantities of low level radioactive waste generated from the non-nuclear industry in Northumberland and how this waste is managed, a study was commissioned by us in partnership with Durham County Council and the Tyne and Wear Councils. Click here to view the Low Level Radioactive Waste Study in the North East of England (August 2013).
Commercial and Industrial Waste Survey
A survey was taken in to understand the quantities of waste generated by businesses in Northumberland, and the report has been published in March 2011. Click here to view the North East England Commercial and Industrial Waste Survey Report (March 2011).

Waste Arisings and Management Capacity Study
This study was jointly commissioned by Northumberland, Durham and the five Tyne and Wear Councils. It forecasts waste creation to 2030 for the commercial and industrial hazardous waste streams, and compares these waste forecasts to existing and planned waste management capacity to identify if there is a gap. Click here to view the Waste Arisings and Facility Capacity Study Report (July 2012).
This section includes a number of studies and evidence reports that relate to renewable and low carbon energy.

The Renewable Energy, Low Carbon Energy Generation and Energy Efficiency Study assesses capacity for wind energy, biomass and other renewable energy sources. It splits into three parts:
  • Part A - Energy efficiency and sustainable construction
  • Part B - How the delivery of a low carbon Northumberland can be enabled
  • Part C - How new policies might be set out and delivered.

Click here to view the Renewable, Low-Carbon Energy Generation and Energy Efficiency Study (February 2011).
This study was undertaken to help understand the effects of onshore wind farms on tourism. It involves four pieces of research:
  1. A desk-based study of published research that has been published on the impacts of wind farms on tourism in the UK;
  2. An online survey of potential tourists to Northumberland;
  3. An online survey of tourism-related businesses in Northumberland based on the impacts of wind farms on them; and
  4. A focus group with representatives of groups or organisations that are interested in the impacts of wind farms on tourism in Northumberland.
Click here to view the Evaluation of the Impacts of Onshore Wind Farms on Tourism (October 2014).
The Landscape and Operational Wind Farms Study was undertaken to understand the landscape, visual and historic environment effects of operational wind farms in Northumberland. The report can be viewed below:
This study provides an assessment of the sensitivity of the Northumberland landscape (outside Northumberland National Park) to wind energy development. The study will be used to help the Council understand whether it is appropriate to identify suitable areas for wind energy development within the emerging Local Plan. Click here to view the Assessment of the Sensitivity of the Landscape to Wind Turbine Development Study (January 2018).
This technical paper provides a high level assessment of the extent and distribution of planning and environmental considerations that could affect the potential suitability of areas for wind energy development. It details the context and the approach taken and makes recommendations on the approach to the identification of potentially suitable areas for wind energy development in the Northumberland Local Plan.
This section includes a number of studies and evidence reports that relate to infrastructure.

The Infrastructure Delivery Plan sets out the County Council’s current understanding of the investment programmes of key infrastructure providers active in and around the county. It identifies the level of development planned through the Northumberland Local Plan. The ultimate aim of the IDP is to demonstrate that the level of development planned through the Local Plan can be supported by existing or planned infrastructure.
Northumberland Open Space, Sport and Recreation Provision Assessment examines all open space, sport and recreational provision within Northumberland and proposes the establishment of local open standards. Below are the list of documents:
Green infrastructure is a term used to describe a network of green spaces and the connections between them. This can have multiple uses, including recreation and wildlife habitat. Northumberland Green Infrastructure 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. Click here to view the Northumberland Green Infrastructure Strategy (October 2011).
The Northumberland Playing Pitch Strategy assesses current and future supply and demand for sports pitches within Northumberland. Click here to view Northumberland Playing Pitch Strategy (May 2011).

We are currently in the process of updating the strategy in partnership with Sport England and the relevant pitch sport national governing bodies.
The South East Northumberland Green Infrastructure Strategy sets out the vision and strategy for green infrastructure provision within southeast Northumberland to protect and improve existing poor quality green and open space, and develop new green infrastructure. Click here to view the South East Northumberland Green Infrastructure Strategy (October 2011).
The purpose of the Sports Facility Strategy is to provide an action plan for indoor sports facilties in Northumberland and help to ensure that current and future demand for sports and recreation facilities are planned for.
This section includes a number of studies and evidence reports that relate to viability.

Northumberland County Council (“the Council”) is currently in the process of developing its Local Plan. To support this process, the Council requires independent viability testing of its policies to ensure deliverability. In particular, we are instructed to advise the Council regarding:
  • Appropriate affordable housing quantum and mix.
  • Appropriate levels of other Section 106 policy requirements (such as education contributions, open space provision etc).
  • Other policy provisions which could impact on scheme viability (such as the potential introduction of the Nationally Described Space Standards, certain Building Regulations standards etc). 
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. All the current monitoring reports are located below: