We are arguing that if Morpeth is to be a ‘growth point’, that growth should be in the local economy as well as in housing numbers. The draft MNP identifies a need for employment land to provide more local jobs alongside the extra housing. As well as Coopies Lane and Pegswood Industrial Estate, it designates the County Hall site to remain allocated for employment – and some 8.5ha up at Fairmoor/Northgate. We do need more employment land than this, and we are looking to the County Council and their current Employment Land Supply study to come up with suggestions that will be in line with our draft plan.
Opportunities for co-ordinated economic development in the town centre are identified, a primary shopping zone is designated and the ongoing need for one or more hotels in the Plan area is highlighted.
The draft Plan also recognises the need for a replacement Leisure Centre within the plan period and aspirations for an Arts and Heritage Hub – and it sets out planning criteria for such community developments.