Neighbourhood plan ‘made’ for north Northumberland coast

Bamburgh - within the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan.
Bamburgh - within the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan.

The neighbourhood plan for three communities on the north Northumberland coast has been officially made by the county council.

At its meeting on Tuesday, the local authority’s cabinet gave final approval to the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan, which encompasses the villages of Bamburgh, Beadnell and Seahouses.

It means that the plan, which passed referendum by a 90 per cent majority in May, must be used to determine planning applications in the area.

One of the key policies is that any new homes in the three parishes must be principal residences, that is, lived in full-time and not second or holiday homes.

The precedent for this is a similar restriction placed on the 45 new homes on land south of Kennedy Green in Beadnell which were approved in early January 2017.

In turn, a version of this policy is now being proposed in the draft of Northumberland’s new county-wide Local Plan, which is currently out for public consultation.

It would apply for ‘any parishes with 20 per cent or more household spaces with no usual residents’.

Last month, a scheme for new homes in Bamburgh, the first to go before councillors since the neighbourhood plan passed referendum, was unanimously refused.

In line with the second-homes policy, the proposal was for 10 principal occupancy dwellings, however, it fell foul of other policies as it was outside the settlement boundary defined in the plan.

A month earlier, on the day of the referendum itself, councillors approved a plan for 20 new homes in North Sunderland.

While these were outside the settlement boundary, the plan policy allows for exceptions – such as where 100 per cent of the homes are affordable, as in this case.

By Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service