Council chief: New data shows we were right to withdraw plan

Coun Peter Jackson
Coun Peter Jackson

Northumberland County Council has welcomed new figures on projected future housing needs, with the leader saying it shows their withdrawal of a key planning document was right.

In the summer, the local authority withdrew the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy to review a number of aspects of the document.

Key to the review was concern over the housing numbers contained within the previous core strategy, which put the proposed level of new housing in the county at 24,320 by 2031 plus the inclusion of up to an additional 2,000 houses at Dissington Garden Village over and above objectively assessed need.

New data from the Government’s consultation paper suggests a need for 707 new homes per year in Northumberland over the period 2016 to 2026 – substantially less than the level proposed in the now withdrawn core strategy.

Coun Peter Jackson, council and Conservative group leader, said: “This new data shows we were right to withdraw the local plan and it is quite possible it would have been rejected anyway by the Secretary of State using the previous figures.

“We had long questioned some of the assumptions which were used by the previous council in drawing up the core strategy. These latest Government figures prove the case we have been making all along. There is no shortage of land for housing in Northumberland with developers sitting on a land bank with enough supply for the next 10 years or more at the current rate of building.

“Using these new figures, we will be able to plan for a sustainable and prosperous future for our county as we work on the revised document.”

Last week, we reported that the withdrawal of the core strategy was a key factor in the success of an appeal by Barratt Homes North East, for 285 houses on land north of St Michael’s Avenue in New Hartley, which sparked 805 objections from 424 residents and Seaton Valley Parish Council.