A SIGNIFICANT number of county residents have had their say on a major plan that will shape future development in the county until 2031.
Almost 1,000 people attended organised events, many took part in an online forum and the county council has received thousands of individual comments on the issues highlighted in its core strategy document that outlines its preferred options for housing, employment and the green belt.
The most recent stage of consultation on the plan outlined detailed evidence which shows that for Northumberland to be economically viable it needs more homes for working families, although some of the responses say the number being suggested (24,310) is too high.
The document says the county needs a population that will support existing and new jobs, as well as sustain and develop local services and businesses and ensure the resilience of communities.
It includes proposals for a new area of green belt around Morpeth and Pegswood and the deletion of parts of the green belt in some areas, such as Ponteland.
It also has details about the amount of new employment land that the authority thinks is required in each area of the county.
Policy board member for planning, housing and regeneration, Allan Hepple, said: “We are extremely pleased with the response from residents and organisations across Northumberland.
“We would expect there to be challenge by people who do not want to see change, but it is very good to see that so many people have engaged with the consultation to help ensure that Northumberland is a vibrant and thriving county and that its special environmental qualities are protected.
“At each stage of the development of this plan we have listened carefully and responded to feedback provided, and reflected this in the emerging core strategy.
“We will be carefully considering all comments and feedback received and taking this into account in the next phase of development of the plan.
“We will provide a full commentary showing where we have made changes as a result of comments and where we don’t, explaining why.”
The next phase of consultation on the core strategy for the Northumberland local plan is scheduled to take place from April this year when residents will be able to comment on a full draft document.
During the coming months the council will be doing further work with local communities to refine the plan – including meetings with town and parish councils and other local groups such as neighbourhood plan groups.
If you want to register your interest in commenting on a future version of the plan, visit www.northumberland.gov.uk/corestrategy