Planning applications before Strategy Planning committee 15 March 2017

You may already be aware that all three major outline-planning applications are being considered at the Strategic Planning Committee on Wednesday 15 March.

All three applications are recommended for approval by NCC Planning Officers.

Notifications have been posted adjacent to the three sites and many residents have received notification by post.

THE INFORMATION PROVIDED WITHIN THE NOTIFICATIONS IS INCORRECT – The meeting starts at 1pm and not 2pm as stated in NCC Notification !  

 Ponteland Green Belt Group fully expect the Committee to agree the recommendation and say that ‘they are minded to grant approval’

Do not be surprised at this pre determined outcome  – ( there will no doubt be some  attempt to make it look  anything other than  a decision already made some time ago  behind closed doors )

What will happen next? The outline applications are all on Green Belt land and NCC have an obligation to refer the application, and their recommendations, to the Secretary of State  (via the National Planning Casework Unit )  for review.

Ponteland Green Belt Group, Ponteland Town Council, Ponteland Civic Society, Ponteland Community Partnership and our County Councillors have already requested that all 3 applications  are “called in” by the Secretary of State

Our proactive approach has the full support of Guy Opperman MP. Ponteland Green Belt group have had it confirmed  that the National Planning Casework Unit have the applications on their radar and are monitoring the situation.

We are hopeful that the Secretary of State will ‘call in’ the applications.  We feel very strongly that the applications, and the impact of them, should be considered cumulatively – the applications should not be considered in isolation.

Our case for seeking the Secretary of State intervention and “call in” the applications is based on the fact that it is National Planning Policy that Green belt should only be released in exceptional circumstances and in any case must be done through the Core Strategy process. The applications are therefore premature

Prior to the Strategic Planning Meeting the Committee will undertake a site visit. This is scheduled for Monday 13th March; the Committee is expected to arrive at Ponteland Leisure Centre at 2.15pm and will then visit the other 2 proposed sites (behind Cheviot View and the Dissington Estate.

Residents have been consistent in their objections to the excessive housing numbers allocated to Ponteland; we will use this as evidence when applications and NCC decisions are independently reviewed – either as part of the Core Strategy inspection or as part of the Secretary of State ‘call in process’.

What can you do?

  • Attend the site visit (2pm Monday 13th March at Ponteland Leisure Centre). 

We expect press presence and this is an opportunity to demonstrate that Ponteland  residents are consistent in their continued objection

  • Attend the Strategic Planning Committee Meeting ( Wednesday 15th March at 1pm –County Hall – Morpeth   )

Ponteland Town Council, County Councillors and some residents have registered to speak on our behalf – as residents we need to support them.

Prevent Mass Development of Ponteland -Act Now Responses needed by 23 Dec

As mentioned in our previous post please find a link to the following documents.

A suggested draft response to the Supplementary Planning Document –

You can use the template as is but it would be great if you could add your own comments.

A  draft  objection response to the Banks Group outline planning permission application

Re the Core Strategy Major Modifications Document – This  response has to relate to the ‘Soundness’ of the Plan. NCC are attempting to get Dissington Garden Village in through the ‘back door’. They have not consulted with Ponteland residents – the Major Modifications are unsound. Many of you have authorised PGBG to act on your behalf – thank you. If you wish us to respond on your behalf please send an email to

An information leaflet  is also provided

Remember the cut off date  is 23 Dec




Please note – we are NOT against  development. Ponteland already has over 650 houses in the completions and approved applications  pipeline without the developments listed above.

Is it not ironic that the two large developments that are proposed include the word “village” in the title- A promotional gimmick to exploit the attractive  character of Ponteland – exactly what will be lost once the developers have made their huge  profits and long gone.

It is considered that the higher housing growth option, requiring 1,000 new dwellings over the plan period could begin to compromise the character of the town’ (Quote from NCC expert analysis Oct 2013)

We are looking at over 3000 new dwellings

How about this quote from NCC

Projected population change – as a guide, it has been considered than on average an acceptable increase in population for Main Towns is between 10% and 19%, 4% and 8% for Service Centres and around 4% in the rest of the County.

We are currently looking at population increase of 69%

or what about this quote from NCC.

We have maintained our position that, in acknowledgement of the need to accommodate proportionate growth in Ponteland over the plan period, an element of Green Belt deletion will be required

Is what is being proposed “proportionate” growth? An element of  Green Belt ?

NCC are proposing to delete 411 Hectares across the entire County , 228 Hectares of that Green Belt land is in  Ponteland – an unjustified 51.7% of the total.

NCC Drop in Event

You may already be aware that NCC are holding a drop-in session, which will cover
The Ponteland Supplementary Planning Document (Proposals for Schools, Leisure and, in addition to this, a significant Green Belt deletion to accommodate or 400 houses) and
The Core Strategy Major Modifications Consultation (Dissington Garden Village – proposed 2000 houses)
The event is being held on Wednesday 7 December 2016, between 2pm and 7pm at the Memorial Hall, Darras Road

Ponteland Green Belt Group (PGBG) will not be attending – the reason for this is that NCC continue to use the events as a ‘tick box’ exercise.

As far as the ‘Consultations’ go….we are in the process of completing our document review. Neither consultation sits in isolation. Over the next 14 days, we will:
Finalise a draft response to the Supplementary Planning Document – We will provide you with our suggested comments – you can use the template as is but it would be great if you could add your own comments. We’ll provide more detail within the covering letter
Finalise a response to the Core Strategy Major Modifications Document – The response has to relate to the ‘Soundness’ of the Plan. NCC are attempting to get Dissington Garden Village in through the ‘back door’. They have not consulted with Ponteland residents – the Major Modifications are unsound. Many of you have authorised PGBG to act on your behalf – thank you.
We will need your help to deliver!- if you are willing to deliver leaflets to your street or ,if you are willing to deliver to additional streets, please let us know on email address below and we will be in touch.


You may already be aware that NCC have released 2 further documents for Consultation – both run from 11 November 2016 to 23 December 2016 .

NCC have previously stated that 1000 additional houses would ruin the character of Ponteland…..we are currently looking at over 3,500.  NCC continue to demonstrate a determination to ruin Ponteland.

PGBG and the majority of Ponteland residents realised more than 2 years ago that NCC are determined to ignore our views.

It is important that we all continue to respond to the Consultation documents; responses will be used as evidence that NCC have not listened to residents when the Core Strategy is finally examined by an independent Inspector.

NB – we are NOT against development. We welcome PROPORTIONATE development in Ponteland. The case for removal for vast amounts of Green Belt land around Ponteland is simply not made out.

The consultation documents are:

1. Core Strategy Pre-Submission Draft – Proposed Further Major Modification

This document includes ‘major modifications’ to the previous version of the Draft Core Strategy Document.

At  this stage we are restricted to  responding on the ‘Tests of Soundness’ that require the Core Strategy to be ‘Positively Prepared’, ‘Justified’, ‘Effective’ and consistent with national policy.

NCC have included proposals for ‘Dissington Village’ – 2000 houses on Green Belt land.

NCC have not undertaken any form of consultation with the residents of Ponteland on this significant development; we feel strongly that this is a way of introducing the proposal ‘through the back door’ of the Core Strategy.

Lugano have submitted an expression of interest to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) requesting that the ‘Dissington Village’ proposal receives Government approval. The DCLG decision is due to be announced around the 5th December – NCC have issued a statement stating that if DCLG do not approve the scheme they will push ahead with it through the Core Strategy. PGBG response will therefore be finalised following the DCLG announcement.

Group Representations

NCC are again requesting that group representations are made as a single representation – we need to include contact details of those that we are representing – we have been very successful in doing this previously. If you have already provided your details you do not need to do anything. If you have not previously authorised us to act on your behalf please email with your name and address authorising PGBG to represent you – please remember to include every member of your household.

2.  The South East Ponteland Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) (Revised draft, November 2016).

This is a redraft of the SPD submitted earlier this year by NCC which proposed that schools and leisure be located at Dobbies roundabout.

This latest SPD support Banks Group development of 400 houses on the Clickemin wedge (situated immediately as you enter Ponteland).

This proposal is in addition to significant development at Police Headquarters, proposals at Willow Way and ‘Dissington Garden Village’.

PGBG are currently reviewing the documents and will provide residents with our proposed response – we need to respond individually to this Consultation but we will support you in doing that.

Documents can be accessed at:


We have previously posted “ So who do you think you are kidding Mr Hepple”

We had said we were going to be hit with the potential for well over 2000 houses.

Cllr Hepple replied “The plan clearly shows the provision for 880 additional new homes – nowhere near the figure’s quoted by the local MP and the Green Belt Group.” 

How wrong we were – we now have:-

1026 – [880 proposed on Green Belt + 126 already built within the plan period + a significant number with permissions in various stages of progress]

2000 Dissington estate.

And now Banks group have returned with plans for 400 houses on the Clickermin Farm site

That’s 3426 houses with potential for more.

Remember all numbers quoted by NCC are MINIMUM requirement.


Dissington Estate Prince’s Foundation Workshop 11-26 Sept 2016

Invitations have been received by a number of Ponteland residents and representative groups to attend a workshop on the Dissington Estate proposal.

A number of these groups have met and have decided to decline the invitation. We have written to The Prince’s Foundation to explain our reasoning. Our joint letter can be found by clicking on the link below.


In short

Since May 2012, Ponteland has been subjected to 11 significant ‘consultations’ involving various developments proposed for our settlement.   A further Core Strategy Major Modifications Consultation has been scheduled by Northumberland County Council (NCC) this autumn.

The common theme running through all of these ‘consultations’ is that the views of Ponteland residents, who have engaged with the process and responded in such significant numbers, have been completely disregarded

We fear, from past experience, that a 95% opposition will be reported as if it were a ‘constructive meeting’ and referred to much later as part of a successful ‘consultation’; in the end the majority community view will be effectively ignored.

Given our experience and, as representatives of a significant number of residents, we cannot, regretfully, allow ourselves to once again be subjected to a futile consultation exercise.

NB We are NOT against development . We welcome proportionate  development in Ponteland.

NCC ‘s statements made during the Core Strategy consultations say

“Projected population change – as a guide, it has been considered than on average an acceptable increase in population for Main Towns is between 10% and 19%, 4% and 8% for Service Centres and around 4% in the rest of the County”

In correspondence NCC have stated;

We have maintained our position that, in acknowledgement of the need to accommodate proportionate growth in Ponteland over the plan period, an element of Green Belt deletion will be required

Ponteland residents are now faced with a minimum housing allocation of 1006 houses [880 proposed on Green Belt + 126 already built within the plan period – There are also a significant  number with approved planning permissions in progress.]

This represents a 37% population increase or put another way, a 94% + population increase over and above what NCC have previously stated is an acceptable increase for a Main Town.

It is very difficult to understand how this can be  regarded as “proportionate”

Shared facilities for Ponteland Leisure Centre proposal

As NCC current proposal for the sharing of the Leisure Centre facilities with the Ponteland schools has a direct impact on  Green Belt deletion in Ponteland the Ponteland Green Belt Group has responded to the proposals.

The response can be viewed here

PGBG Leisure response.

Ponteland Green Belt Group response to Major Modifications to Core Strategy Document.

Please find attached the PGBG submission to NCC re the Major modifications document.

We have had acknowledgement that it has been recieved

The responses in places are duplicated . This is because the  response has to address a particular modification area  and be sent in as a separate response.

We were  delighted to be able to  inform NCC that this response represents the views of over 1100 residents. Thank you.

We have no expectation that NCC will take any notice of the views of Ponteland residents. (At least they are consistent in that regard.)

We will continue to keep you informed

NCC Major Modifications _reply by PGBG

Core strategy -Major Modifications – Responding to NCC by 27 July 2016.


Comments on the major Modifications to the Core Strategy must be received at NCC  by 4pm on 27 July 2016.

If you complete the attached form ( Major Modifications Flyer) we can  submit a response on your behalf ( NCC require confirmation that we are able to represent you)

Comments can also be submitted by email and post and should be directed to:

  • Email:; or
  • Post: Planning and Housing Policy Team, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF.
  • Online –

Major Modifications Flyer