Key plan topics and policies are outlined

Land between the road to Peter's Mill and the back of Allerburn Lea in Alnwick.
Land between the road to Peter's Mill and the back of Allerburn Lea in Alnwick.

Councillors were given a run-down of the key policies in the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan, which passed referendum since the last town-council meeting.

But despite only passing referendum in the past month and the plan not due to be ‘made’ by the county council until next week, three major proposals, which are affected by the document, have already arisen.

Policy H2 suggested sites for housing in the town to meet the requirements for at least 1,100 new homes from 2011 to 2031 – 55 per year.

A number of these have already been approved or built, but the plan allocates sites for the remaining balance of 532 homes, including the former Duchess’s Community High School site and land to the east of Allerburn Lea, for which the Northumberland Estates unveiled proposals for 270 homes over 10 years to the public at an exhibition yesterday.

However, the plan provides further guidance, including the requirement for a masterplan for housing development on these sites and the need to preserve green spaces, both of which appear to have been taken on board by the Estates.

Town clerk Bill Batey said: “With these housing sites coming forward, the neighbourhood plan should help us deal with the issues that have been raised over the years we have been developing the plan.”

Reflecting on concerns already voiced, Coun Sue Patience said: “Policy H3 is as important, if not more important, because it’s about the mix of housing. I don’t like the word affordable, but it’s about appropriate housing, and that includes rental.”

Alongside housing, jobs are key and 12 hectares of extra employment land (E2) is another one of the crucial policies, alongside E3 which aims to ensure existing employment land is maintained, as in the case of the Willowburn Industrial Estate, where outline plans for homes were rejected because of this policy (see right for more details).

There are further policies to deal with the town centre and retail, which don’t specifically rule out further out-of-town development – as proposed for a site to the south of Greensfield Industrial Estate – although they do require retail impact assessments to be carried out.

Other aspects in the plan include the protection of green spaces in the town and the retention of community facilities, like at the Lindisfarne Middle School site.