Three parishes on the north Northumberland coast are joining together to have a say on the future of housing and development in the area.
Neighbourhood plans, brought in under the Government’s Localism Act, are the local level of the new planning system.
If accepted, they form part of development control along with the county council’s core strategy and the National Planning Policy Framework.
And following a meeting earlier this month, organised by county councillor John Woodman, the parishes of North Sunderland, Beadnell and Bamburgh agreed to work together, while also keeping in close contact with neighbouring parishes Belford and Newton.
Jude Aldred, chairman of Bamburgh Parish Council, said: “The three parishes have so much in common that it makes sense to work together for the good of the whole area.”
The meeting was attended by representatives from all three councils as well as David English, from the county council’s planning team.
Geoff Martindale, chairman of Beadnell Parish Council, said: “It was encouraging to see so many people so enthusiastic at our first joint meeting of parish councillors.”
It was agreed that there should be a steering group, but the next step is to host a launch event to ensure that the community is involved as much as possible.
This public meeting is likely to take place in early January.
Coun Woodman, who represents all three parishes in his Bamburgh ward, said: “If people care about their community, this is how they can help create the framework. This works best if the ideas come from the community upwards.”
Initial thoughts on the key issues for the plan, which can change depending on input from the community, include ensuring affordable housing and homes for permanent residents and encouraging employment outside of tourism.
Geoffrey Stewart, chairman of North Sunderland Parish Council, said: “This is a popular area; it needs a framework to control development to meet the needs of the community.”