Ambitious neighbourhood scheme ready for launch

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A cross-council plan for neighbourhood development is to launch after months of planning.

Next Thursday, four parish councils will come together to put forward the Neighbourhood Plan for Mid Coquetdale.

Cartington, Rothbury, Thropton and Witton & Tosson Parish Councils, supported by Northumberland County Council and Northumberland National Park Authority, will map out the plans for the future with a drop-in event at The Jubilee Hall in Rothbury on Wednesday April 23.

Members will take the public through the plans from 2pm until 7pm, which has been led by Reverend Michael Boag, rector of Upper Coquetdale and chairman of the project’s steering group.

Coun Helen Walklett, who is coordinating the work, said: “This is a very important opportunity for the people living and working in this community to have their views on future development heard.

“I would urge everyone to come along on the 23rd and be involved right from the start in shaping our future.”

Since 2011, the Government has allowed communities to produce neighbourhood development plans for their local area.

Led by town or parish councils, the neighbourhood development plan, if adopted, becomes part of any statutory planning framework.

The parish claims that it will enable people living and working in the area to guide where and how future developments happen.

It can help deliver types of development that local people would like to see in the community.

The plan will be used to make decisions on planning applications, giving it genuine influence on the area’s future.

The plans can cover any matter important to the local community such as employment opportunities, housing; parking, transport, natural environment and design.

These are ‘development’ plans and so are meant to help deliver it in places that the community supports.

This would be particularly important in a place like Rothbury that may want to protect itself from housing developments in certains areas as they could suggest where it would like to see such homes built.

The scheme was introduced by government to give the local councils more of a voice and gives planning officers a ‘crib sheet’ as it were to read from when deciding development opportunities in the area.

Councils wanted to stress the importance of the plan as there can only be one plan in each neighbourhood area and must last for a reasonable period of time.

For more information, email rothburyparishcoun