The neighbourhood plans will now form part of the Statutory Development Plan for Northumberland, meaning that future planning decisions in the areas will be made in line with policies in them, unless ‘material’; considerations indicate otherwise.
The plans were officially adopted, or ‘made’, at a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s cabinet this week.
A fifth neighbourhood plan for Hexham was also adopted.
This comes after there were referendums in each area, which asked residents if they wanted the neighbourhood plans to be considered during planning decision-making.
The neighbourhood plans will now form a key part of the planning process for these five areas. They will have real influence in decisions on new housing, businesses and services, retaining community facilities, protecting green spaces, providing sustainable transport, protecting local heritage assets and the design of new development.
The plans were created by the local parish and town councils with significant input and support from local residents, who all worked closely with planning officers from the council to agree what is important to each area.
Cllr Colin Horncastle, cabinet member for community services at Northumberland County Council, said: "The neighbourhood plans made today are a testament to the hard work of many dedicated people in these communities, and I am very pleased to see them come into effect.
“The town and parish councils have engaged with residents to produce plans that really address locally-important issues, and they have given these communities a say in how land will be developed in the future.”
The county council, as the local planning authority, has a statutory or legal duty to support any local community preparing a neighbourhood plan.
Work is continuing to prepare neighbourhood plans for 26 other parishes across Northumberland, while 10 are already in place including Alnwick and Denwick, Longhorsley and the North Northumberland Coast.
Wooler’s neighbourhood plan has made it through the referendum stage but is still awaiting adoption.
Further information on neighbourhood planning in Northumberland can be found at: www.northumberland.gov.uk/ourplan