Consultation has begun on final modifications to an important planning document that will see the provision of new schools and leisure, new homes and employment land, and secure key infrastructure investment.

Final major modifications to the Core Strategy of Northumberland’s Local Plan will be consulted on from now until Friday 23 December, with submission of the plan to Government then scheduled for March 2017.

The Core Strategy provides the overarching planning policies that will guide where future development takes place for the period 2011 to 2031.

The main modifications are in relation to the proposal for a Garden Village at Dissington near Ponteland, a supplementary planning document for land at South East Ponteland, and
changes to employment land allocations at Morpeth.

Earlier this year the council submitted an expression of interest to central government for support in developing proposals for a new garden village on land owned by The Dissington Estate.

The supplementary planning document for land at South East Ponteland provides guidance on the form of a sustainable expansion of the town, to include a mix of education, leisure and housing in a landscape setting, plus land which will be safeguarded for development beyond 2031.

In Morpeth changes to employment land take account of the outline planning permission for land west of Lancaster Park in the town; reallocation of land at Fairmoor for employment purposes which aligns with the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan; and the reintroduction of safeguarded employment land for the future expansion of Coopies Lane Industrial Estate.

Modifications to the core strategy also include specific reference to junction improvements where the B6531 road meets the A69 west of Hexham, as part of the chapter on ensuring that infrastructure is delivered as part of future developments.  

This is the seventh public consultation on the Core Strategy, and on each occasion the council has taken comments and feedback into account and adjusted details in the documents, where possible, as a result.

Cllr Allan Hepple, cabinet member for economic growth at Northumberland County Council said:  “The council has ambitious plans for a prosperous Northumberland founded on quality local jobs and connected communities.  

“We are determined that Northumberland will grow and prosper – with more jobs, more residents of working age and a greater choice in the housing market.

“We have to ensure that the core strategy and evidence are robust, and can pass Government inspection, but most importantly can deliver these future benefits for Northumberland.

“Through the core strategy we are proposing modest changes to some Green Belt boundaries, but only in exceptional circumstances, with more than 99% of Northumberland’s Green Belt still protected.

“We believe that these final modifications put the plan on a very firm footing for Government inspection next year  I urge everyone with a view to have their say.”

Full details of the consultation are available on the council’s website at:

As part of the consultation there will be two informal drop in events in areas most affected by the proposed modifications:

  • Ponteland – at the Memorial Hall, on Wednesday 7th December from 2pm until 7pm; and
  • Morpeth – at the Town Hall, Market Place, on Tuesday 13th December from 2pm until 7pm.

The council will take into account responses to this consultation during January 2017, with a submission document considered by the council in February, and forwarded to Government in March 2017.  Examination by a Government inspector can then be expected during mid to late Summer 2017 and formal ‘adoption’ in December 2017.