Key council document is withdrawn for review
Northumberland County Council has withdrawn the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy from Government to carry out a review of some aspects of the document.
The review will look to further protect Green Belt land and prevent a development free for all in the future.
A motion to full council asking for a full review of the housing and employment numbers and strategic land use allocations within the draft Core Strategy was carried by 39 votes to 22.
The Core Strategy has not been scrapped - it is only certain elements which will now be reviewed.
Members stressed their support for economic and housing growth to support local communities but questioned whether the housing numbers contained within the current Core Strategy are required to meet these ambitions, and wish to undertake a review and any required public consultation as soon as possible.
Coun Peter Jackson, leader, said: “Many residents were unhappy with the proposed Core Strategy and have been calling for a review. We are a council that listens and it is vital we get this right.
“The strategy will have a direct impact on future generations in Northumberland and we wanted to propose a review at the first opportunity.
“This council wants to protect our communities and to plan for a sustainable and prosperous future for our county and the wider region.
“While we believe the vast majority of the plan is fine, information currently available, and anticipated for release by the Government later this year, suggests to us that the requirement for housing in our County may very well not be as high as has been proposed previously.
“We want to use this information from Government and take into full account the latest regional plan in the form of the NE Strategic Economic Plan, to review the need to build on acres of Green Belt land.
“Ultimately we want to improve control of development within our county, not create a free for all which encroaches on our Green Belt.”
Advice has been sought from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the report states that a local planning authority can withdraw a submitted plan at any time prior to adoption, at which point it would publish a statement about this and send notification to consultation bodies.
The work will be done as quickly as possible, so that the strategy can be re-submitted to Government as soon as is practicable.