Making plans for town

A 20-year plan for Morpeth town centre will be put up for discussion at a public workshop next week.

Residents, business owners and other people with an interest in the area are all invited to put forward their ideas as part of the Neighbourhood Plan process.

Last year a series of workshops took place to set a vision and key development principles for the whole of the Plan area, including Pegswood, Hepscott, Hebron and Mitford, which formed the basis of an Issues and Options consultation report.

It concluded that the economic role of Morpeth would be primarily a rural service centre, with a strong retail sector and broad mix of attractions.

Now there will be a more detailed look at the issues and opportunities to consider any measures that might be needed to maintain and strengthen that role over the next 20 years.

Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group Chairman Ken Brown said: “We ran a couple of workshops on the vision for the town last year and we got quite a bit out of those, which led to the Issues and Options proposals. Now we are getting down into a bit more detail, especially on the town centre.

“We have concentrated quite a lot on housing development in the past 12 months of the Neighbourhood Plan process. People coming in to buy houses in development will want to do so because of a number of reasons, such as the quality of schools, but also because of the facilities available in the town centre.

“We need to know if we have enough of the right kind of facilities – food and drink establishments, leisure facilities and other attractions. On the face of it, it looks like we have, but we need to make sure it is all in the Plan.”

He added: “The workshop will cover a bit of everything – the retail mix, traffic management, heritage and what else might be required.

“It is looking to determine what role the town centre will play in the growth of Morpeth over the next 20 years.”

The workshop will be led by Planning and Urban Design Consultant Colin Haylock.

It will examine the role and function of the town centre, the retail offer and other uses, layout and functionality, parking, pedestrian and traffic circulation, and the range of development opportunities.

The session will take place at Morpeth Town Hall on Monday, from 5.45pm.

Anyone is welcome to attend, regardless of whether they have taken part in any other Neighbourhood Plan events. However, people are asked to register in advance by contacting Louise Davey at Morpeth Town Council on 01670 514314. Alternatively, email