Welcome to “The Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan” Website
This plan is our community’s opportunity to shape and guide development that will take place in our area and make sure that it is appropriate to our needs and aspirations. We can have a real say in where it goes and how it looks!
What is a neighbourhood plan?
The introduction of neighbourhood planning is part of wider challenges to the planning system in the Localism Act 2011. The Act claims to shift decision making from central government to communities and councils. Neighbourhood planning helps town and parish councils to prepare a plan for their area, in close consultation with residents, businesses and other local organisations. Neighbourhood Plans are for the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of everyone in the community.
Like many historic market towns, Morpeth’s heritage interest and local environment setting are its defining assets, and local residents are proud and protective of those features that give the town its sense of place and sense of identity.
An independent examiner has looked at the Plan and confirmed that it satisfies all legal requirements. Amendments have been made to the draft Plan in line with the recommendations of the examiner.
Northumberland County Council considers that this Plan meets the necessary legal requirements. The Plan will now proceed to local referendum, which will take place on Thursday 25th February 2016. For full details, see the NCC website http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Planning/Planning-policy/Neighbourhood.aspx
All registered electors in the five parishes covered by the Neighbourhood Plan (Morpeth, Pegswood, Hebron, Hepscott and Mitford) will be eligible to vote in the referendum, which will be a conventional vote at the usual polling stations. Polling cards will be issued a few weeks before the date of the referendum.
If a simple majority of those who vote are in favour of the Plan, then Northumberland County Council, as the local planning authority, will adopt the Neighbourhood Plan as part of their Local Development Plan.
The Referendum version of the Plan and a number of supporting documents are available via clicking on the links below:
Publicity about the final draft version of The Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan was carried out by the County Council over a six week period ending on 5 August 2015.
The independent Examiner has now (October 2015) completed his report and recommends that, with some modifications, it satisfies Government requirements, and is therefore suitable to be put to a local referendum. The Examiner’s Report is available for download below and on the NCC website.
The County Council will now consider the recommendations in the examiner’s report. If the Council is satisfied that the plan meets legal requirements it will be put to a local referendum in the Morpeth area later this or early next year.
If the majority of people participating in the referendum vote in favour of the plan it will then be formally ‘made’, form part of the county’s development plan, and be used in the consideration of planning applications in the neighbourhood plan area.
Post Consultation and Submission
Formal consultation on the draft Plan concluded in March 2015 with around 600 responses received plus about two dozen detailed submissions from statutory consultees, developers and residents with particular interests. These broke down to 1400 individual topic-based comments.
The consultation responses have been used to revise the Plan. Click here for a summary of the changes made.
The Submission draft Plan and Proposals Map, together with a draft Basic Conditions Statement outlining how the Plan meets regulatory requirements, and a Consultation Report have been assessed through a preSubmission healthcheck.
The finalised Neighbourhood Plan, informed by feedback from the healthcheck, together with the supporting documents was submitted to Northumberland County Council (the local planning authority) on 2nd June 2015. After validating the submission documents, they passed them on to an independent Examiner.