Northumberland Local Plan Examination – Consultation on additional evidence

Northumberland County Council is carrying out a consultation exercise on the additional evidence requested by the Local Plan Inspector as a result of Local Plan hearing sessions that were held during October 2019 and February 2020.

All additional evidence documents can be viewed on the Northumberland County Council website for this consultation at:


The Council is inviting comments on the additional evidence between Monday 13 July 2020 and 5pm on Monday 7 September 2020.

Comments should be submitted by:

Please contact us at or on 0345 600 6400 if you have any questions about the consultation or the Local Plan process.

Newbiggin by the Sea Town Council have submitted the following representation.

How can this Town Centre Policy approach be adopted within the local plan when there are 13 towns in Northumberland yet only 12 are included within the Policy approach?  Why is Newbiggin by the Sea not being acknowledged as the 13th town?

The Town Centre Policy approach is flawed by focussing on 12 towns instead of 13 towns, surely this means that the Local Plan is also flawed in its soundness.
The focus of the Town Centre Policy approach goes back to the recommendations of the independent retail study by WYG Planning and Design of 2011 which recommends the hierarchy of 12 towns (7 large and 5 small) based on retail floor spaces (not population) with Newbiggin being put in 13th place, this subsequently means that Newbiggin is the only town in Northumberland not classed as a town in terms of planning policies.  Newbiggin has a population on par and in excess of some of the defined smaller towns.
Newbiggin by the Sea Town Council is leading on the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan for our community which will focus strongly on regeneration; employment; commercial and housing growth for a sustainable future in which it is essential to be seen and classified as a town in planning terms.
The last Town Centre Health Check was conducted in 2009 by Northumberland County Council for Newbiggin by the Sea.  This health check recommended biennial future health checks, future assessment of diversity of uses, accessibility, pedestrian flows, retailer demand, perception of safety and INVESTMENT.  These recommendations were not followed.
The success of the Portas Town Teams Funding that Newbiggin secured in 2012 should have supported a case for the hierarchy to be increased to 13 towns.
Newbiggin by the Sea has been neglected from all subsequent studies provided to the 12 towns. 
  • Omitted from the Town Benchmarking Survey that was carried out in 2013 (funded by NCC)
  •  Omitted from retail studies commissioned  by NCC in 2016
  • Omitted from the NCC technical paper – policy approach to town centres dated December 2018 which encourages regeneration and increased commercial floor spaces
  • Omitted from Government funding for town centre/high street clean up March 2019
  • Omitted from  Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plans 2020
The Town Centre Policy Approach encourages development, employment and regeneration to the 12 Town Centres – The omission of Newbiggin by the Sea from the Town Centre policy Approach is denying our town of many opportunities for a sustainable future, regeneration, housing, employment.
We urge Northumberland County Council to add Newbiggin by the Sea as a small town within the policy approach, conducting the relevant retail studies, to support the growth and sustainability of our town as they are doing for every other town in Northumberland.

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