By the time you read this we should know what each of the 18 potential development sites will be offering in terms of ‘community needs and priorities’ alongside any homes, business, retail or other plans for the site. We must choose our ‘preferred options’ not only on what they are offering to our Parish but also on planning sustainability grounds.
Planning sustainability includes issues such as proximity to facilities/services, landscaping, deliverability, biodiversity, heritage, landscape, transport, flooding, environment. This all needs to be matched with the housing numbers that our Parish is expected to deliver up to 2031, which is 123-200 new homes. I’m sure you can imagine that this is a complex piece of work that needs to be robust and fair so we will take our time to get it right.
Our Preferred Options will be published shortly and we will publicise this widely and ensure that all interested parties have as much opportunity as possible to comment upon the various proposals.
It won’t be too long now before we have a draft Neighbourhood Plan available for everyone to read and comment upon and, following a formal consultation process we will be in a position to take the Plan to a Parish Referendum where we need 50% of those who vote to support the Plan.
Ashington, like many other Parishes, is under pressure from ‘Developers’ who all want to build new houses on land that they have secured under an ‘option to develop’. This is where a Developer pays the landowner for the right to build should they be able to secure planning permission on the land during the period of the option. The Neighbourhood Plan is simply seeking to ensure that we get the right number of homes, in the right location and delivering the right community infrastructure.