Latest NCC Core Strategy Draft Released

The latest Draft Core strategy from NCC has been released

Two immediate headlines.

1) The housing allocation for Ponteland has been increased to 900 – remember thats minimum!  Far greater than has been suggested in any other previous Core Strategy document or in any NCC so called “consultation’ events.

2 ) Ponteland has been re designated as a Main Town from being listed previously as a Service Centre – This is no doubt an attempt to justify the vast increase in housing allocation.

We will give further information once we have had time to digest the document.

The document can be found at. NCC Draft Core Strategy Sept 2015



Birney Hill Application Refused

Ponteland Green Belt group is delighted to hear that The secretary of State for Department for Communities and Local Government has accepted the recommendations of inspector John Grey and has refused the the Lugano application to build 280 houses on our precious Greenbelt

It is noted that the Secretary of State finds that the very special circumstances necessary to justify inappropriate development in the Green Belt did not exist in this case.

A big thank you to all our supporters

Whilst this decision is very encouraging the Green Belt around Ponteland continues to face an even greater threat.

NCC have stated Ponteland is central to the economic growth of the county and so NCC plan to release large swathes of Green Belt land around Ponteland to facilitate large scale housing development in the village.

The Ponteland Green Belt Group is not complacent . The fight continues!

Ponteland Greenbelt Group AGM

Supporters are invited to attend the AGM on Wednesday June 24th from 6.30pm-7.30pm in the side lounge at the Memorial Hall.
If you are interested in becoming involved and wish to join the committee, please contact us via the website for a nomination form at:

Can you believe the latest on Planning and future developments!

Northumberland County Council wants to impose changes to streamline the planning process, removing 3 local Area Planning Committee’s county wide and replacing with a central planning committee and delegated powers to officers.

The West Area Planning Committee was scrapped earlier this month with future planning decisions to be decided at Morpeth with the majority being decided without councillor input or contribution locally.

The Deloitte report focuses on effective and efficient use of resources-about saving money rather than about a balanced assessment of planning applications. Or are the new procedures being introduced to strangle debate and crush all opposition to anything that NCC wishes to impose upon Ponteland?

This proposal could be deemed as a serious threat to democratic local involvement in the planning process and could be perceived as lacking in transparency and accountability.

There is criticism in the speed in which this has been carried out by NCC as the consultation period had been shortened from 6 to 3 weeks. The release of the latest proposals for Ponteland has taken place after the end of the Final Draft Local Plan consultations, so avoiding any proper consultation on them.

This leaves our Town Councillors, locally elected by us, losing their statutory powers as consultees and unable to make comments on any planning application. In these circumstances what guarantee do we have that anyone will really listen?

Under the NCC proposals planning decisions will be made without any local knowledge and no meaningful consultation at local level.

Yet something else being imposed upon us

If that is not enough, NCC proposes for Ponteland should be deeply involved with new developments that will be subject to these new planning processes. These include the building new High, Middle and First schools and a Leisure Centre on a new site (on the Green Belt) allowing the existing sites to be released for future housing development.

The Town Library will be moved to the current Leisure Centre site in the short term and in the longer term it will co-locate on the new education and leisure campus. Halfway down Rotary Way, totally separate from the Town Centre!!!

What else is going on in the North East, Durham County Council

As there are so many similarities between Northumberland and Durham’s proposed plans we decided to pass on this information for your viewing.

A brief summary follows on the INSPECTOR’S INTERIM VIEWS on the legal compliance and soundness of the submitted County Durham plan

To view the full report click here Durham Report

Released on Wednesday 18th February – this Inspectors interim report indicates that Durham County Council (DCC) Local Plan is unsound. DCC now has three options.

a) To continue the examination
b) To suspend it or
c) To withdraw the plan.

The Inspector has advised that it would not be in the best interests of plan making to recommend an unsound plan.
There are so many similarities between Northumberland and Durham’s proposed Plans; the findings are key to Ponteland residents and evidence that our concerns are justified!
Ponteland Green Belt Group has asked NCC for their initial response to this key DCC document due to the similarities of NCC Draft Core Strategy – we await their reply.
Key Points

  • Population and economic growth scenarios provided from Edge Analytics across both Plan areas.
  • Assessment of housing needs is too high…. the Council’s vision incorporates unrealistic assumptions about jobs growth and associated in-migration.
  • Following each stage of DCC Consultation following comments made by residents many changes were made to the Plan relating to both sites and policies – unlike NCC who have ignored residents’ concerns.
  • Unnecessary dwellings proposed for the Green Belt and a full review of non-Green Belt sources of supply should be undertaken.
  • Proposed relief roads are not justified.
  • The jobs target is very ambitious.
  • The employment statistics are an unacceptable risk and the housing potential is an overprovision.
  • No allowance has been made for bringing empty houses back into use, there is no allowance for small windfall sites and many brownfield areas of land have not been assessed.
  • The housing requirement should be reduced (suggests 29%)
  • Incursions into the Green Belt are directly contrary to national policy.
  • There is no need to release 3 large sites from the Green Belt.
  • Development of some sites would contribute to urban sprawl.
  • There are no exceptional circumstance which would justify release of 72.4 hectares of Green Belt land in Chester le Street.

NCC Final Draft Core Strategy Response

Response to Northumberland County Council (NCC) Core Strategy Final Draft for Housing, Employment and Greenbelt

Question 1 (Page 10) – Do you have any comments on the introductory section?
National Planning Policy states that household projections published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) should be used as the starting point. Release of DCLG2012 is imminent; this document does not offer assurances that current assumptions will be reviewed to incorporate DCLG2012.

Within the Introduction Councillor Alan Hepple acknowledges the need to use the most up to date … Read full document

Final Draft Core Strategy January 2015

Please get involved and respond to the Final Draft Core Strategy, all previous responses were for the previous documents not this Final Draft.

Every resident in Ponteland is eligible to respond, as seen below.
This is our last chance to make a difference.

Click here or on the first image to open and download the complete pdf file

Greenbelt response to core strategy Jan 2015 Draft v 2 option 2_Page_1


Greenbelt response to core strategy Jan 2015 Draft v 2 option 2_Page_2


Guy Opperman passionately supports upgrading Ponteland High School but not at the ‘Clickemin site’!

“I have still yet to see any concrete evidence for the County Council’s proposed greenbelt deletions, including at the Clickemin site. The County Council’s latest justification, the suggestion that greenbelt deletion may be required in order to rebuild our schools, is not one I agree with. I passionately believe our schools need upgrading, anyone can see that. Just compare the condition of Ponteland’s High school to Kenton or Walbottle and it is clear our school buildings in Ponteland need investment in the future.

However there is no reason greenbelt needs to be used for rebuilding our schools. Our successful campaign for the rebuilding of Prudhoe High School will see the school built on exactly the same existing site. There is no reason why that can’t happen in Ponteland.”