Progress on Northumberland National Park's vision to help shape its future for everyone

View of Breamish and Ingram Valley in the Northumberland National Park.
Picture by Jane ColtmanView of Breamish and Ingram Valley in the Northumberland National Park.
Picture by Jane Coltman
View of Breamish and Ingram Valley in the Northumberland National Park. Picture by Jane Coltman
A key document for the future development of the Northumberland National Park has cleared the final hurdle and is set to be adopted soon.

Northumberland National Park Authority is its own planning authority and responsible for planning applications within its borders, therefore it has had to prepare its own Local Plan.

The examination of this plan, by a Government-appointed planning inspector, was carried out earlier this year and the report was published on June 17.

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It concludes that the plan ‘provides an appropriate basis for the planning of the Northumberland National Park, provided that a number of main modifications are made to it’.

These modifications have already been consulted on and a final version of the document produced; the park authority will now consider the plan for adoption on Wednesday, July 15.

The foreword to the 88-page document sets out that the authority’s aim through the plan is to ‘help shape the future of the national park for the benefit of all who live, work and visit this unique and tranquil part of Northern England, while conserving the rich culture, heritage and landscape we all know, love and respect’.

In his report, planning inspector Kevin Ward summarised that there are three main modifications.

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The first is including a housing requirement figure which corresponds to the identified need of 160 homes over the plan period, from 2017 to 2037, and a ‘clear intention for that requirement to be met in full through small-scale development within the national park and the delivery of housing in gateway settlements outside of but close to the national park’.

The second is ‘removing the separate categories of local centres and smaller villages given the lack of policy distinction between settlements’, while the third relates to amending the wording of a number of policies to ensure they are compliant.

Meanwhile, the examination for the Northumberland Local Plan, covering the rest of the county, is also under way, with the first round of hearings taking place towards the end of last year.

Further hearing sessions will be necessary for phase two of this examination, but due to Covid-19, it is not yet known when they will take place.

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