The Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan now has full weight after the vast majority of residents voted in favour of the document.
In the referendum, which took place last Thursday, they were asked the following question: Do you want Northumberland County Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Ponteland to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?
A total of 2,629 people said Yes – this was 96.1 per cent of those who voted. There were 101 votes for No and three spoilt votes.
The count took place in St Mary’s Church Hall. The turnout was 29.5 per cent.
Alma Dunigan, chairman of the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, said: “We are delighted with the support from the community, attending consultations throughout the five-year preparation of the plan and giving us the outcome Ponteland will benefit from now and into the future.
“All 32 planning polices will form part of the statutory local development plan at the county council and these planning policies will be used to determine planning applications and decisions.”
The steering group of local volunteers working on behalf of Ponteland Town Council met every fortnight to prepare the document, which has a community-led framework for guiding the future of the civil parish.
To meet the requirements in the legislation, neighbourhood plans need to be based on sound, realistic robust information such as consultants’ technical reports, economic and environmental studies.
The 32 planning policies in the final document cover the following topics: sustainable development principles, protection of our built heritage, protection of the natural environment, growth of the local economy, a mix of housing to meet local needs, community well-being, flooding and sustainable drainage, and transport and movement.
They went through independent examination by an impartial planning expert in June to enable the plan to be taken to this local referendum.
The plan’s vision is as follows: ‘Ponteland will maintain its identity as a sustainable, thriving community, accessible to people of all ages, a gateway to Northumberland, which values its rural setting, rich heritage, natural environment and open spaces.
‘It will remain visually distinct and separate from the Newcastle/Tyneside conurbation, meeting the needs of the current population and community of the future, without compromising this distinction.
‘The special identities of Darras Hall, the historic core of Ponteland village and the small settlements in the plan area will be maintained and enhanced for future generations, making the civil parish of Ponteland a desirable place to live, work and visit’.
For more information about it, visit www.pontelandneighbourhoodplan.co.uk