Parish to decide whether to press ahead with plan

Belford.
Belford.

Belford Parish Councillors will meet later this month to decide whether to go ahead with a neighbourhood plan for the village.

Following a public meeting attended by more than 50 interested residents, members of the parish had discussed the feedback with county officers.

Parish council chairman Brenda Stanton said: “A lot of the things that people suggested they would like to change in Belford were actually community things, like keeping the streets clean, dog dirt, and maintaining people’s houses. But there were one or two things people would like to see, like development land in Belford and more retail space, that we could work on as part of a neighbourhood plan.”

Neighbourhood plans allow communities to create their own planning policies for future development in the area. However, councillors questioned whether it was worth creating a Belford Neighbourhood Plan at all.

Coun Chris Rosby said: “Those that did turn up said that they want better roads, they want the high street to be more vibrant – all the things they seem to mind about we do not have any influence over.”

Coun Rosby also questioned how a neighbourhood plan would sit in relation to new planning proposals in the Deliotte’s report, which would mean parish councils were no longer statutory consultees in the planning process.

“It seems strange that they say they are going to make democracy more local through a neighbourhood plan, but on the other hand they are taking it further away with the Deloitte’s report,” he said.

County councillor John Woodman said: “That is why making a neighbourhood plan is important, if you are concerned about local views not being taken into account. On the other hand, it’s a lot of work and you should only do it if there’s something you care about that’s not in the county plan.”

Belford Parish Council will meet on March 26 (7pm) in Bell View to discuss whether to have a neighbourhood plan. Public are welcome to attend.