The Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan has been made by the county council, bringing it into legal force.
The document is now part of the statutory development plan for the parishes of Alnwick, Denwick and Denwick Detached, and decisions on applications in these parishes must be made in accordance with the policies in the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
However, it has already shown its teeth as unpopular plans for housing on the Willowburn Industrial Estate were refused last month, as the proposals didn’t align with the policies.
Alnwick and Denwick’s plan is now the third in Northumberland to be made, following Allendale in July 2015 and Morpeth in May last year.
The Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan referendum took place in June and all residents of the area who are registered to vote were able to have a say on the plan.
Overall, 1,451 people voted, comprising 21.6 per cent of the registered electors. With only 277 people voting no, there was a majority yes vote of 80.9 per cent in favour of making the neighbourhood plan.
Alnwick Town Council has led the way nationally as a neighbourhood planning front-runner to create the plan. This has tested planning legislation that came into force in 2011 and allows local communities to prepare plans to guide development in their area.
Mayor of Alnwick, Alan Symmonds, said “The plan looks forward optimistically and sets out the policies and proposals for the future growth and development of Alnwick and Denwick, while ensuring that our great heritage and fabulous environment continues to be protected.”
Coun John Riddle, cabinet member for planning at Northumberland County Council, said: “The planning policy framework in Northumberland is being strengthened by the adoption of neighbourhood plans like this one.
“This is the third plan to be made and there are around 20 others in various stages of preparation across the county. The council is pleased to provide significant support to local groups in preparation of their plans.”