Acomb is going ahead with a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) following a unanimous decision at the June 2015 Acomb Parish Council (PC). It was decided not to join Hexham in taking forward their NP at the October 2014 PC.
How will we go about taking forward a Neighbourhood Plan for Acomb?
Acomb PC will lead on taking forward a NP. A steering group, chaired by Jane Wrigley, Parish Councillor, consisting of representatives from Acomb PC, A4A Committee and other interested residents of Acomb, will take the NP process forward.
Steering group members are:
Jane Wrigley, Parish Councillor, Chair
Bill Grigg, Parish Clerk
Charles Enderby, Chair of the PC
Naomi Liller, Parish Councillor
Sybil Gill, Parish Councillor
Rachel Gagliano, Action4Acomb (A4A) Committee Member
Lorna Farr, A4A Committee Secretary, Parish Councillor
Matilda Bevan, Acomb Resident
Norman Robson, A4A Flood Warden
supported by David English, Communities and Infrastructure Manager, Strategic Planning and Housing, Northumberland County Council
The first meeting of the NP Steering Group took place on Tuesday 13 October at 7pm at the Village Hall. At the next meeting held on 17 November 2015, priorities were determined that would contribute towards the NP.
The first task has been to determine the designated area and gain approval from Northumberland County Council. The PC at its September meeting agreed to apply for the civil parish of Acomb to be the designated as a NP area. The designated area for the Neighbourhood Plan has been approved on 17 November 2015 as that of Acomb Parish. There were no external responses received during the consultation period. A letter of confirmation has been sent to the PC. Updates can be viewed on the Northumberland County Council web site.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
An opportunity for our community to shape any development in our Parish following the introduction of the Localism Act 2011. A NP will become a formal part of the decision making process for land allocations and planning application decision making. County Hall cannot simply ‘have regard’ to them, they must adhere to them. They have statutory weight and status. However, there is a prescribed and robust process to go through to get a NP adopted.
Why did the PC decide not to go in with Hexham?
It was felt that we would be in a stronger position if we went alone in taking forward a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) because:
1. as a small village, our priorities are very different from Hexham.
2. only one place was available on the Hexham NP Steering Group[read about their progress] for a Acomb representative and our voice might not be heard
Why a NP now?
There have been rumblings of further housing development in Acomb. Residents’ views in the recent questionnaire Download on future development indicates the level of concern. We can use the findings from the questionnaire to support Acomb’s NP. Northumberland Core Strategy document out for consultation in September 2015, prior to being published with a revised date of Summer 2017. Acomb’s housing allocation will be identified in that document. We need to be ready to influence future decision making.
Is a NP different from a Community Led Plan (CLP)?
Whilst a Neighbourhood Plan would focus primarily on planning-related issues in an area, a CLP is more comprehensive in scope and covers a wide range of social, environmental and economic issues. Now that the analysis of Acomb’s questionnaire Download is complete, it is planned to use the findings as the foundation for our CLP.
Are there other places who have decided to develop a NP?
The first in our area to complete has been Allendale. Our neighbours, Hexham are now underway.
There several others who have either submitted or are close to submission:
> Tarset and Greystead
Further regular meetings of the Neighbourhood Steering Group are planned for 2016. A separate PC website has been developed devoted to keeping you updated on the progress of the Neighbourhood Plan.