Running until Friday, October 23, views are being sought from residents on the draft vision, objectives and policy themes that will inform the draft Newbiggin Neighbourhood Plan.
The consultation document will be delivered to every household/business in the parish and will also be available online, with everyone encouraged to respond.
In the spring of last year, the steering group for the Newbiggin plan asked for feedback on the ‘big issues’ and six are set out in the consultation.
They are – A clear separation of settlements to enhance the character and distinctiveness of Newbiggin; New ‘wildlife corridors’ to protect natural habitats, incorporating sustainable drainage for the Ashington developments and former Alcan ash lagoons; Regeneration of the town through endorsing employment and providing appropriate infrastructure and start-up units; Improved visitor attractions are needed to sustain visitor growth and contribute to commercial sustainability; Improved pedestrian and cycle routes to public transport and a new link road to the strategic network from Woodhorn Roundabout; Housing growth and improved choice to retain and attract families.
These, in turn, have shaped the proposed vision: ‘By 2036, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea will be successful, thriving and sustainable. A place where people want to live and work because of the rich and distinctive environment, range of services and facilities, leisure opportunities, as well as access to high-quality housing, employment and protected open spaces with linked wildlife corridors.
‘New employment opportunities have reduced the number of residents commuting out of the town for employment and they have access to sustainable modes of transport.
‘The town centre is vibrant, with a range of shops, social and leisure facilities. These services, facilities and leisure opportunities are now fully accessible, contributing to health and well-being and have resulted in a growth in visitor numbers who support the success of the local economy.
‘New development ensures the protection and enhancement of the area and safeguards the amenity of the local community.’
Neighbourhood plans are the most local level of the planning system, sitting beneath the county-wide Local Plan, which is currently subject to examination by planning inspectors, and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The town council considers that there is a need to review current housing allocations and an independent local housing needs assessment is currently being carried out. This will be subject to a separate consultation later this year.