The final phase of public involvement in a new Local Plan for the whole of Northumberland started this week.
Residents, businesses, community and voluntary groups, town and parish town councils, and anyone with an interest in the future of the county, will be able to have their say.
Public consultation on this publication draft plan will run for six weeks, until Wednesday, March 13.
Unlike previous consultations, at this stage the council has to ask specific questions. These are around whether the plan is ‘sound’, whether it is legal, whether it is an appropriate strategy and whether the council has worked with neighbouring authorities and other organisations to address strategic issues.
The local plan must comply with planning law and be in line with national planning policies. It must also have been prepared using robust and credible evidence, have properly assessed the need for homes, jobs and infrastructure, and be able to demonstrate that it can be delivered.
The council welcomes comments in these areas, which are also the questions that the independent Planning Inspector will be asking as part of the examination later this year. Guidance will be provided for respondents.
The council has arranged 23 drop-in events at community venues across the county, where people can find out more, ask questions about the plan and receive advice on how to make comments
The Local Plan includes all of the main planning policies for the county, and maps out where new homes will be built, new jobs created and new services provided.
It has been designed to grow and diversify the economy of Northumberland, and identifies measures to enable 15,000 new jobs to be created in the county by 2036.
Aiming to protect the Green Belt from new development and preserving the special qualities of Northumberland it will also identify where new homes will be built and where new services and infrastructure are needed to support communities.
The publication draft plan, including an interactive map, is available online at www.northumberland.gov.uk/localplan Copies are also in libraries, customer information centres and council offices.
The drop-ins include:
Alnwick – Saturday, February 9, 10am -3pm, St James Church Centre, Pottergate.
Amble – Monday, February 11, 2pm-7pm, Development Trust Offices, Dilston Terrace.
Belford – Tuesday, February 12, 2pm -7pm, Bell View, West Street.
Rothbury – Thursday, February 28, 2pm-7pm, Jubilee Hall, Bridge Street.
Seahouses – Tuesday, March 5, 2pm-7pm, Sports and Community Centre, Stone Close.
Wooler – Monday, March 4, 2pm-7pm, Cheviot Centre, Padgepool Place.