It is fantastic that we now have an adopted Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan, which having been formally adopted by the council in July, is now well and truly established as a sound piece of planning policy.
It is, therefore, incredibly unfortunate that a Labour activist seems to be telling the people of Alnwick through his posts on social media that following the Core Strategy withdrawal, “Neighbourhood Plans are not worth the paper they are printed on”.
This just simply is not the case.
I write to reassure the residents of Alnwick and Denwick that the Neighbourhood Plan, which they voted on at referendum, is well and truly established.
One instance proves this beyond argument. The recent joint application to build large numbers of houses on the Willowburn trading estate was originally recommended for approval by officers. However, as soon as the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan was accepted by referendum, that recommendation was reversed, resulting in the application subsequently being refused.
The Core Strategy in its previous form, promoted by the last Labour administration, opened the gates for a further 24,000 homes to be built within the county by 2031.
While I stress my support for economic and housing growth to support communities, I do question the housing numbers, which were promoted by the previous administration.
I, therefore, believe in the interests of all Northumberland communities, including Alnwick, that it is right that we now undertake a review so that any housing development going forward is only undertaken to deliver sustainable communities.
Please be reassured residents of Alnwick that your Neighbourhood Plan has full weight.
County councillor for Alnwick, Alnmouth and Lesbury