Neighbourhood Plan for Northumberland community is formally adopted

Residents of Seaton Valley now have more of a say over future developments following the adoption of a neighbourhood plan.

By David Sedgwick
Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 9:00 am
A Neighbourhood Plan has been formally adopted for Seaton Valley.
A Neighbourhood Plan has been formally adopted for Seaton Valley.

The Seaton Valley Neighbourhood Plan will now form part of the statutory development plan for Northumberland, meaning that future planning decisions in the parish will be made in line with policies in them, unless ‘material’ considerations indicate otherwise.

Northumberland County Council, as the local planning authority, has a statutory or legal duty to support any local community preparing a neighbourhood plan.

The Plan passed independent examination in May and was officially adopted at a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s cabinet this week, now forming a key part of the planning process for this area.

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The Plan focusses on the protection of open spaces in Holywell, New Hartley, Seaton Delaval, Seaton Sluice and Seghill after it was identified as a priority by Seaton Valley Community Council following consultation and engagement with the local communities.

Planning officers from the County Council’s Neighbourhood Planning Team worked closely with the Community Council to help create the planning policies that give protection from built development to important open spaces in the five villages.

A local referendum held in Seaton Valley on July 29 returned a majority vote in favour of using the Plan to make decisions on planning applications.

Coun Colin Horncastle, cabinet member for community services at Northumberland County Council, said: "This neighbourhood plan is testament to the hard work of many dedicated people in this community, and I am very pleased to see it come into effect.

David Ferguson, County Councillor for Hartley and a member of the Community Council, said: “The Community Council has engaged with residents and, with the support of our Neighbourhood Planning Team, has produced a plan that deals with the locally-important issue of providing greater protection to the valued open spaces across Seaton Valley.”

Work is under way on the preparation of neighbourhood plans in over 20 other parishes across Northumberland, while 15 neighbourhood plans are already in place.

The Neighbourhood Planning Team continues to provide dedicated help and practical support to all the local parish councils involved in neighbourhood planning.