Belford Neighbourhood Plan

Belford Neighbourhood Plan

Meetings with Belford Parish Residents

December 2013

Meeting with representatives from Belford community groups, Cllr John Woodman, David English NCC and BPC to consider whether residents would be interested in a Neighbourhood Plan:

The meeting considered boundaries; whether other parish councils would want to be involved in a plan – Adderstone with Lucker and Easington (some legal issues; no parish council).
Composition of a steering group – community group, businesses, parish council, Bell view...
Public meetings; how to involve residents...
A Neighbourhood plan should consider demographics, retaining schools, housing needs, (including availability, affordability, cost, type and second/holiday homes), improving employment opportunities - all of these issues are interlinked
Car parking, industrial estate/businesses, high street improvements, shops were also considered
Improvements to the A1 and the development of the station platform could improve links to Belford.

January 2014

 Meeting with other Belford Parish residents and groups, including a representative from Belford Community Group and Belford Hall Committee:

Similar views were expressed to the earlier meeting
There were some concerns about who would ‘do’ the work.

February 2015

Summary of Neighbourhood Plan Meeting at Community Club, Belford

50+ were present at the meeting and many left email addresses, so that they could be contacted with updates. They included residents, businesses, local landowners and residents of adjoining parishes. Seven Belford Parish Councillors were present and there were two apologies.

Jonathan Nicholson represented NCC and was available to speak about the Core Strategy as well as Neighbourhood plans and Jessica Turner represented the AONB – which includes part of the parish and lies close to the remainder.

John Woodman, ‘our’ County Councillor spoke about a Neighbourhood Plan for Belford; experience gained at the Coastal Group; guidance available to communities wishing to make a Plan; benefits for a community with a Plan and described it as a Community Plan ‘with teeth’ that could determine how development would go ahead; it would give power to the community. Some areas of local concern could not form part of a plan, such as stopping development of a wind farm or housing development. He advised those present that it would take time, skill and energy, so it was important to make sure that a Neighbourhood plan was necessary.

Peter Rutherford, a Planning Officer with NCC, followed with a presentation that gave more detail about the production of a plan:

  • A parish council can produce a neighbourhood plan in consultation with the community
  • A plan can set out a local spatial vision
  • It can cover any matter important to the local community that can be enshrined in planning policies – not strategic matters.
  • It must last a reasonable time (say 15 years)
  • It must meet a set of basic conditions
  • A boundary must be set
  • It should inspire innovation and creativity and incentivise communities to support growth
  • It can include themes such as affordable housing, employment land, environment, sustainability
  • It should have a good clear reason to start
  • The final plan is submitted to NCC; submitted to qualified examiners; subjected to a local referendum and if it passes at all stages, it becomes part of the Development Plan

Questions followed about cost, sustainability, who would do it, who could be involved, the links between employment/housing/schools, the benefits if a Neighbourhood Plan was produced– if it passes all of the tests then the Community will have some financial benefit and the community will have some control over future development...

Finally a show of hands indicated that those present were interested and would support the development of a Neighbourhood Plan.

This information was sent to all attendees of the meeting at the Community Club in February, who provided an email address.

What happened next?

A.          Some attendees responded to 4 questions on the boards at the side of the room. These responses were ‘analysed’ – summary below, more on other sheets in ‘book’.

Q1 What do you like about Belford?

The comments left on post it notes (35) were copied and sorted into groups:

  • Architecture and buildings – 4 comments
  • Shops/retail – 2 comments
  • Services -12 comments
  • Community – 14 comments
  • Development  - 2 comments
  • Countryside

Q2 What would you change in Belford?

The comments left on post it notes (39) were copied and sorted into groups:

  • Activities/ Leisure  - 4 comments
  • Children – 1 comment
  • Development - 4 comments
  • Maintenance – 7 comments
  • Roads/Signage - 7 comments
  • Shops/retail - 6 comments
  • Transport – 3 comments
  • Parking -4 comments
  • Young people– 3 comments

Q3 Where would you be happy for development to happen?

This was indicated by green dots on the map:

  • 6 green dots were place in the area to the south of Belford – from Raynham Close to Sunnyhills Farm Shop (adjacent to current development area)
  • 1 to the South of the Golf Course between B6349 and South Farm

Q4 Where would you not like development in Belford?

This was indicated by red dots on the map:

  • 1 was placed in the current development near Rogerson Road
  • 1 was placed in the field to the East of Belford Hall
  • 1 was placed in the field to the south of B1342 to the south of the Industrial Estate
  • 6 were placed around the perimeter of Belford to the North and West of the Village


B.       The Council received an offer of help to develop the plan from an architec

C.       An attendee sent a detailed e mail suggesting entrepreneurial activity could help.

D.       John Woodman and Brenda Stanton attended a meeting with Jonathan Nicholson and Charlotte Colver, NCC Planners involved with Neighbourhood Planning, to discuss the meeting and results.

  • Many comments were Community based and not concerned with Planning issues, so could not be included in a Neighbourhood Plan but could form the basis of a Community Plan.
  • The exact boundary of the plan area will need to be determined and submitted to NCC.
  • Comments made during the meeting at the Community Club, and subsequently, show there is an interest in issues that could be included in a Plan such as housing, employment land, nature of future development, sustainability and the possibility that ANOB guidelines could be used in determining where development was appropriate.

March 2015

Meeting with residents

A Parish council meeting was held at Bell View on 26 March at 7pm to discuss whether or not to produce a plan. An invitation was sent to all attendees at the Public meeting in February.  A small number of residents attended.

After some discussion about the content of the plan and community issues, it was decided that the Parish Council should proceed with the Neighbourhood Plan.

Evidence was collected about issues that could be included together with community projects and aspirational ideas.

Several new issues were raised:

Communication with the residents should be good – a website, use of existing newsletters and ‘What’s on in Belford’ were suggested
Tourism is significant to the economy of the area and should be addressed stimulated if possible by the plan