Following an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote at a local referendum in June, the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan has now been ‘made’ by the County Council, bringing it into legal force.
The neighbourhood plan is now part of the statutory development plan for the parishes of Alnwick, Denwick and Denwick Detached, and decisions on planning applications in these parishes must be made in accordance with the policies in the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
The Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan is now the third neighbourhood plan in Northumberland to be ‘made’, following Allendale in July 2015 and Morpeth in May 2016.
The Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan referendum took place on Thursday 15th June and all residents of the parishes of Alnwick, Denwick and Denwick Detached who are registered to vote were able to have a say on the plan.
Overall, 1,451 people voted, comprising 21.6% of the registered electors. With only 277 people voting ‘no’, there was a majority ‘yes’ vote of 80.9% in favour of making the neighbourhood plan.
Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member for planning at Northumberland County Council said: “The planning policy framework in Northumberland is being strengthened by the adoption of neighbourhood plans like this one.
“This is the third plan to be made and there are around 20 others in various stages of preparation across the county. The council is pleased to provide significant support to local groups in preparation of their plans.”
Alnwick Town Council has led the way nationally as a neighbourhood planning ‘front runner’ to create the plan. This has tested planning legislation that came into force in 2011 and allows local communities to prepare plans to guide development in their area.
The adjoining community of Denwick was invited to be included in the plan as it has a strong relationship with Alnwick in terms of local services, education and employment. As such, the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan covers these civil parishes.
Alnwick Town Council has engaged with the community to produce the plan which addresses issues local people have identified as important in their local area.
Councillor Alan Symmonds, Mayor of Alnwick, said “It’s been a long, detailed and worthwhile process and I’m pleased that the residents of Alnwick and Denwick have endorsed it.
“The plan looks forward optimistically and sets out the policies and proposals for the future growth and development of Alnwick and Denwick, whilst ensuring that our great heritage and fabulous environment continues to be protected”.
The Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan and accompanying documents can be viewed on the county council’s website at http://www.northumberland.gov.