Residents of Alnwick are being consulted on the Local Development Framework, which will integrate all the various needs (including schools, housing, employment, transport and services) and so guide planning decisions for the the long-term development of the town.
I was therefore surprised to learn that Northumberland Estates is intending to submit an outline planning application in the next few months for a major housing development to the south of the town in advance of the completion of this framework.
Clearly, we cannot put all planning applications on hold while the long-term plan is being developed, but any 200-plus housing development, on what is currently agricultural land, surely needs to be a result of the larger plan rather than precede it.
We must, of course, welcome any proposals to increase the availability of affordable housing in Alnwick, but there are already a number of development sites in the town that could be used to provide for the immediate need while the longer-term plans are being completed.
Without wishing to predict the contents of LDF, I would hope that it would include plans to reduce dependence on cars.
The proposed development south of the town does not meet this aspiration.
Having people living so far from the town centre cannot be the best way of revitalising Alnwick town centre.
I would hope that Northumberland County Council will not allow any pre-emptive planning applications for major developments prior to the completion of the framework.