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Where should village limits begin and end?

Paul Kiddell aerial view of Seahouses.
Paul Kiddell aerial view of Seahouses.

Councillors are considering whether Seahouses should have a settlement boundary as part of the development of a neighbourhood plan.

The creation of the plan, which will provide a framework for how the villages of Seahouses, Beadnell and Bamburgh should develop in the next 15 years or so, is now well underway.

At Monday night’s meeting of North Sunderland Parish Council, Jenny Ludman, whose Ludman Planning is providing consultancy advice for the neighbourhood plan steering group, spoke to members.

As well as providing the council with a brief update on how the plan is progressing – detailed policies are being drawn up to tie in with the overall objectives – she said that the three communities should decide whether or not they want to define a settlement boundary.

Ms Ludman said that Beadnell does not want one, while Bamburgh is undecided as yet.

“The main good thing is you can clearly define where you want development to be and where you want to stop it, particularly along the coast,” she said.

“It’s tricky defining exactly what the boundary is, but there are tools you can use and you can still have some development outside the settlement boundary (for example, employment land or affordable housing).”

Members were reminded that this would have to be done in line with the proposed figures for new homes in Seahouses as outlined in the county council’s core strategy, the next level up of the planning system.

County councillor for the area, John Woodman, said: “Ultimately, this is a decision the public will make when they vote on the plan in a referendum, but I think it’s important that the parish council has a view and gives that view to the neighbourhood plan steering group.

“Most of the feedback has said we shouldn’t have development in this village along the coast.

“Inland and to the south, I think there’s a bit more freedom probably.”

Coun David Donaldson was of the view that there should be no expansion along the coast to the north or south with Broad Road marking the northern boundary of the village and Quarryfield the southern edge.