Belford Parish Council round-up

Councillors are keen to push on with the development of a neighbourhood plan for Belford.

David English, from Northumberland County Council, attended the meeting to talk through the process of forming a neighbourhood plan, which represents the most local level of planning guidelines after the county’s core strategy and the National Planning Policy Framework.

Some members were intially dubious as to the benefits, but Coun O’Connell said that while the county’s core strategy indicates that 200 homes should be built in Belford up to 2031, if the railway station was completed, it could become a commuter village, perhaps necessitating more housing.

Chairman Coun Brenda Stanton said: “With a neighbourhood plan, at least it means we have some degree of control over our village.

“That’s where we have an advantage in having a neighbourhood plan.”

• Members were assured that no decision will be taken on a number of planning applications submitted by Bedmax, based at Detchant, until the county council’s highways team has completed its traffic monitoring on the road through the hamlet, which has long been a source of contention with residents.

• The chairman asked members to think of any projects in the village that may need funding as the council has a fair amount of money available. Coun O’Connell referred to a scheme to renovate the village’s old well, which is being led by the Community Group, with the aim of tidying it up this year.

• The community benefit document, which would potentially provide the parish with millions of pounds of funding if Energiekontor were to be granted permission for its Belford Burn windfarm, has still not been signed. A number of final checks and clarifications are being dealt with by the parish council.

• Members were concerned that plans for an agricultural storage barn and improved access on land north-west of Mousen Barns, were not significantly detailed as there was confusion as to where the application site actually is. There were no comments on a planned redesign of a farmhouse at Easington.