Northumberland coastal community passes key stage in plan to tackle holiday homes issue

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Plans to stop new holiday lets and second homes on parts of the Northumberland coast have passed a key stage.

An independent examiner has given the seal of approval to the Craster and Dunstan Neighbourhood Plan which will now progress to a referendum.

The news has been welcomed by Craster Parish Council which has been concerned at the level of second and holiday homes across the parish.

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Clerk Adam Shanley said: “Craster Parish Council is absolutely delighted at the examiner’s report and I am very pleased that the County Council has now issued a Decision Notice saying that the neighbourhood plan can go forward to a referendum next May.

Craster. Picture by Jane ColtmanCraster. Picture by Jane Coltman
Craster. Picture by Jane Coltman

"This is a key stage which means that it can now be given ‘significant weight’ in determining all planning applications within our parish.”

The process started in summer 2019 when the parish council conducted a survey seeking feedback on an approach to limit any new build residential development within the parish to that which would be permanently occupied.

Residents who responded had concerns regarding the impact of second homes on the vitality of the community and agreed with the proposed approach to introduce a principal residency restriction to any new development.

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The plan sets down guidance for development within the Craster parish area over the next 15 years.

Adam Shanley, clerk of Craster Parish Council.Adam Shanley, clerk of Craster Parish Council.
Adam Shanley, clerk of Craster Parish Council.

Mr Shanley said: “This plan is the result of a lot work and seeks to address the concerns we hear from our community about the growing levels of holiday homes in the parish and the impact this is having on the vitality of our community.

"This plan will have a real and lasting impact for years to come and is one of the most important pieces of work undertaken by the parish council.”

In her report, independent examiner, Rosemary Kidd said: “I would like to congratulate the plan makers for a focused and succinct plan that addresses a growing issue being faced by the community.”

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In her summary, she adds: “The Craster Neighbourhood Plan reflects the views held by the community as demonstrated through the consultations and, subject to the modifications proposed, sets out a realistic and achievable vision to support the future improvement of the community.”

Similar neighbourhood plans have been introduced or are being planned on the Northumberland coast.

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