Council business is mainly held by Zoom meetings, which is unpreventable but not ideal. I feel that sometimes clarity of information and open debate is not as productive as face to face discussion.
The joint Local Plan with Stoke is now abandoned, in favour of the Borough going it alone. Important piece of work as it is here that we determine our housing and employment needs, together with strategic options for retail and leisure. Joint plan proposals with Stoke have not moved forward since 2013, not even got as far as public consultation. With the Tory introduction of the White paper on planning reform, our departure from the EU, implications of Covid on our economy, working from home, how we use our leisure time and to a lesser extent the HS2 proposals, we as a borough need to look at change and move forward on our own.
The Newcastle plan will need to address affordability of housing affecting young people and the under provision of housing against government targets. The government require us to build 355 pa. Newcastle’s average is 303, we will need more land to build on. There is no consensus on the use of greenbelt land, it remains a ‘hot potato’ depending on interest groups and industry, each having their own perspective.
Residents strongly favoured the development of a Borough Local plan but the businesses were largely in support of a joint plan with Stoke. There is certainly a need/duty to cooperate between the two authorities and indeed with other neighbouring councils.
Programme for delivery of the Plan
Revision of core evidence: Early 2021
Draft publication consultation: Summer 2021, Submission draft Spring 2022.
Submission of Plan to the Secretary of State: 2022
Public examination: Late 2022
PLEASE DO COMMENT ON THE DRAFT SUBMISSIONS. This affects us all. Without a plan we are very much at the mercy of developers. You the public also need to be involved in the sites chosen to develop.
Liberal Democrat Councillors were very involved initially in setting up a plan to allocate sites, unfortunately successive administrations have not carried on with the hard work we put in.
NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANS… Run alongside Local Plan
Neighbourhood plans have two important roles.
They identify the character of your immediate area and steer new development towards sites which will be of benefit to your area. Whilst they need to be ’in conformity’ with the Local plan they can be delivered alongside each other. My understanding is all communities need to get together to set up their own neighbourhood plan. The absence of sites for future development will limit their potential to be used to sustain a refusal of an undesirable development. Think about it especially if you live in an urban area where there are no Parish councils. How about resident associations!