PLAN: Vote '˜yes' for sustainability
The three parishes of Bamburgh, North Sunderland and Beadnell, which I represent, have some of the highest second home ownership in the country and average house prices are almost twice that of the rest of North Northumberland.
Yet in a cruel twist of irony, the jobs created by the tourism boom, which has fuelled the rise in house prices, are low paid and seasonal, pricing our young people out of their own villages.
I hear it time and time again that Northumberland could be the new Cornwall, but Cornwall is one of the poorest regions in Northern Europe with an average wage of only £14,300, despite its 24 million visitors a year.
While we will always encourage tourists to come to our beautiful county, to become overly reliant on one industry would be a mistake.
It is my intention to encourage the development of a mixed economy in North Northumberland, combining tourism, services and industry.
To that end we are working with wireless broadband companies Border Link and Alncom to fill in the last gaps of high speed broadband.
We also continue to lobby for funding for the reopening of Belford Station and an increase in services on the East Coast Main Line, all to boost connectivity and make North Northumberland a more desirable location for aspiring young families.
For this reason, I fully support the adoption of the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan, which is going to referendum on May 24.
If adopted, the plan will set development policy in the area for the next 15 years.
It includes a complete ban on the building of any new houses for holiday lets or second homes, a positive framework for business development to facilitate a diverse economy and robust protections for our unique natural environment.
To make sure we have a sustainable future for our coastal communities I would encourage everyone to vote ‘Yes’ for our Neighbourhood Plan.
Coun Guy Renner-Thompson,
County Councillor, Bamburgh Division