Northumberland National Park Authority is calling on residents, communities and local businesses to take part in the development of its new Local Plan through a series of consultation events.
The National Park Authority is reviewing its local planning policies to ensure that they are fit for the future and is seeking public views on development within the Park over the next 20 years.
Tony Gates, Chief Executive of Northumberland National Park Authority, explains: “We know that people care passionately about Northumberland National Park, we also know the people who live and work in the Park value how special it is, and that they want to live in vibrant, thriving communities with facilities and services which make them a sustainable place to live.
“The National Park Authority has a specific responsibility to maintain a balance between the need for new development such as housing, employment, tourism, leisure and local services which contribute to the overall quality of life for people within the Park, and provide facilities for our 1.4 million visitors, with the need to protect the natural, historical and built environment in one of England’s finest landscapes.
“Moving forward it is essential for us to have a new Local Plan in place to make sure that we effectively manage future development so that it meets the needs of everyone who lives, works and visits the National Park.
“We have identified a number of key issues for the Local Plan such as the provision of community services, housing and employment. We would like to know what people think our future planning policies should be in order to address these issues.
“The public consultation events provide an important early opportunity for residents, communities, visitors, businesses and other organisations to have their say on the Local Plan. They are a starting point for discussion that we hope will get us talking together about future development within the Park and what the new Local Plan should say.”
Clive Coyne, Head of Forward Planning at Northumberland National Park Authority, adds: “We aim to put the community and its social and economic well-being at the heart of all our work. Our challenge today is to integrate this with our traditional National Park objectives of protecting and conserving the environment.
“In order to successfully achieve this, engaging and consulting with our local communities, businesses and partners forms an integral part of our planning process. This builds on the valuable work already being done through local neighbourhood plans which has already had an influence on the direction of our new Local Plan policies.”
There are ten public consultation events taking place during March and April at venues throughout the Park. They are a combination of informal drop-in sessions and community workshops with Northumberland National Park Authority Planning Officers.
Drop-in session dates and venues:
7 March: Village Hall, Bardon Mill, Hexham, Northumberland, NE47 7DX, 2pm to 7pm.
14 March: Haltwhistle Library, Westgate, Haltwhistle, NE49 0AX, 2pm to 7pm.
23 March: Jubilee Hall, Bridge Street, Rothbury, Morpeth, NE65 7SD, 2pm to 7pm.
29 March: Cheviot Centre, Padgepool Place, Wooler, NE71 6BL, 2pm to 7pm.
4 April: Bellingham Town Hall, Bellingham, NE48 2AA, 2pm to 7pm.
Community workshop dates and venues:
16 March: Matthew Ridley Memorial Hall, Falstone, Hexham, NE48 1AA, 2pm to 5pm.
6 April: Village Hall, Kirknewton, Northumberland, NE71 6XF, 2pm to 5pm.
12 April: Elsdon Village Hall, Elsdon, Northumberland, NE19 1AA, 2pm to 5pm.
20 April: Harbottle Village Hall, Harbottle, Morpeth, NE65 7DG, 2pm to 5pm.
26 April: Stonehaugh Community Village Hall, Stonehaugh, Hexham, NE48, 2pm to 5pm
The community workshops aim to give local communities within the Park an opportunity to share their views on what are the most important issues relating to planning in their local area.