Proposals for how Alnwick and Denwick should develop over the next two decades have been put forward as the area’s Neighbourhood Plan reaches the final stages.
A final draft plan has been submitted to Northumberland County Council as the local planning authority for independent examination and the council is now inviting people with an interest in the area to make final comments on the plan during a six-week period before it is formally considered by an independent examiner.
Once the plan passes independent examination, it will be put to a local referendum where people living in the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Area – covering the parishes of Alnwick, Denwick and Denwick Detached – can vote on whether the plan should be used by the council when it makes decisions on planning applications.
Neighbourhood planning is intended to give residents a direct say in the location and design of future development of their local area. Residents have been involved in the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan project since its launch in early 2012 by guiding and shaping the policies in the draft plan.
A steering group was formed by Alnwick Town Council to help guide preparation of the plan. Engagement with a wide section of the local community, landowners and developers has led to the creation of a plan which addresses important issues raised by many residents concerning housing, the economy, environmental protection, transport, safeguarding wildlife and heritage assets and supporting community facilities.
Coun Gordon Castle, town and county councillor, said: “The Alnwick and Denwick plan has been under construction for more than three years and its writing has involved elected members of the town council, council officers, local organisations and institutions, but it is local people who have determined the key features.
“Without a plan, our community may not develop in a way that best serves its residents. Great effort has gone into this draft, which I think is a fine example of how these matters can and should be addressed.
“I urge those interested in our future to examine it and respond constructively with their final comments. I have been personally involved on the steering group and it has my full support.”
The plan is the fourth to have been submitted for independent examination in Northumberland, the first being the Allendale Neighbourhood Development Plan which passed referendum in March and was brought into force on July 1,
Coun Allan Hepple, cabinet member for economic growth at Northumberland County Council, said: “Neighbourhood planning is an important part of the development process and the council is pleased to be supporting communities like the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Area to produce their own plans. We’re continuing to engage with residents on important development plans throughout the county and I would encourage anyone living within this area to have their say in the neigbourhood’s future.”
The steering group has been supported by planning officers from the county council who have helped by providing technical and practical support to ensure that the plan is presented in a way that best reflects the community’s expectations while meeting legal requirements.
Local residents, businesses and other interested parties will be able to make comments on the final draft plan from Friday until midnight on Monday, November 23.
The plan and accompanying documents can be viewed online at www.northumberland.gov.uk They will also be available at County Hall, in Morpeth(Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm), Alnwick Library (Mon 9am–6pm, Tues 9am–5.30pm, Thurs 9am–5.30pm, Fri noon–7pm, Sat 9.30am-12.30pm).
Written representations can be made by email to PlanningStrategy@northumberland.gov.uk or by post to: Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan, Communities and Infrastructure Team, Planning and Housing Services, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth, NE61 2EF.