Neighbourhood Plan

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Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood planning was introduced in the Localism Act 2011. It is an important and powerful tool that gives communities statutory powers to shape how their communities develop.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

In very simple terms, a neighbourhood plan is:

  • A document that sets out planning policies for the neighbourhood area – planning policies are used to decide whether to approve planning applications
  • Written by the local community, the people who know and love the area, rather than the Local Planning Authority
  • A powerful tool to ensure the community gets the right types of development, in the right place

The whole point of a neighbourhood plan is that it is community led.

Newbiggin by the Sea neighbourhood planning group will need to talk to lots of people locally – residents, businesses, community groups, schools – to find out what’s important to them about where they live, what they’d like to improve and what their vision is for the local area.

We’ll also need to gather evidence to back up the ideas that the community want to see.

Using feedback and evidence, we will write the planning policies that will make our community’s vision a reality.

Once our draft neighbourhood plan is complete, it’s submitted to the local authority; Northumberland County Council.

They’ll check that we’ve followed the correct procedures and that all required documents have been submitted, they will then arrange for an independent examiner to check that the plan meets the basic conditions.

Finally, if our plan passes these tests, Northumberland County Council will organise a public referendum (vote), so that everyone who lives in our neighbourhood area can decide whether they support it.

If more than 50% of the voters are in favour of the plan, the local authority must bring it into force.

This means that it will form part of the statutory development plan for our area, so any decisions about whether or not to grant planning permission in the neighbourhood area in the future must be made by taking our neighbourhood plan into consideration.

Where we are with Neighbourhood Planning

The below timeline will detail significant events and milestones in the preparation of  the Newbiggin by the Sea Neighbourhood Plan

October 2023

The county council considers that the Plan, as modified, meets the basic conditions as set out in paragraph 8(2) of Schedule 4B to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and that the Plan complies with provisions made by or under sections 38A and 38B of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Accordingly, the Plan may proceed to referendum. The county council is satisfied that the referendum area shall be the Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Neighbourhood Area which comprises the civil parish of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

The Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Neighbourhood Plan, as modified, will now proceed to a local referendum on 23 November 2023. The Plan will now be given significant weight in decision making.

The Referendum version of the Plan and related documents are available below:

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Neighbourhood Plan – Referendum Version
Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Neighbourhood Plan Policies Map – Referendum Version
Regulation 18 Decision Statement

July 2023

An Independent Examiner ‘s report was received.

Newbiggin by the Sea Examiner’s Report

The Town Council accepted the Examiner’s Report with a couple of very minor wording amendments at a meeting held 12th July 2023.

The report recommends proceeding towards a referendum.

May 2023

The County Council and Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Town Council received a set of questions for clarification from the Independent Examiner on 4 May 2023. The questions and responses can be viewed below:

March 2023

The publicity period for the Submission Draft Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Neighbourhood Plan ended on 31 March 2023. Nigel McGurk was appointed to carry out the independent examination of the draft Plan. The examination began on 4 May 2023.

January 2023

Submission draft plan agreed by Town Council


September 2022 to December 2022

Review of feedback and amendments to draft plan and background papers


June 2022 to August 2022

Consultation on the pre-submission draft

The draft plan has been informed by the following evidence documents:

May 2022

Pre-submission draft plan agreed by Town Council


February 2021 to May 2022

Review of feedback, refining vision and objectives, agreeing scope of the plan, undertaking evidence work including potential housing site allocations, developing the draft neighbourhood plan, strategic environmental assessment and habitats regulations assessment process.


December 2020

A consultation will take place with the local community on housing needs for the draft Newbiggin Neighbourhood Plan. Consultation dates: 23rd December to 22nd January.


September 2020

A consultation will take place with the local community on draft vision, objectives, policy themes for the draft Newbiggin Neighbourhood Plan.

August 2020

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have given the green light to AECOM to undertake a Housing Needs Assessment (HNA) for Newbiggin by the Sea following our application for the technical support package.

AECOM will assess the housing need by looking at the quantity, tenure, type, size and affordability of homes and gathering data.  We expect the receive the HNA report  by November.

July 2020

Jo-Anne Garrick, our Planning Consultant, having reviewed the work done to date has provided a draft vision, objectives, themes and community actions to the Steering Group. She also provided a presentation on the background to Neighbourhood Planning for the benefit of our new and existing Steering Group Members.

The Steering Group have been requested to provide feedback on these drafts before we look to carry out further consultation with the community.

A copy of the presentation and initial draft vision, objectives, themes and community actions is below.

Background to neighbourhood planning and next steps (2)

June 2020

The Newbiggin by the Sea Neighbourhood Plan is about to start gathering momentum. To support the planning process we have recently appointed Jo-Anne Garrick Ltd as Planning Consultant. Jo-Anne has significant experience in a variety of senior planning roles in a range of public sector organisations and more recently in the private sector having undertaken a number of commissions providing Neighbourhood Planning support across the County.

We have also been successful in obtaining initial grant funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government towards the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan to the amount of £3,600; further funding applications will be submitted as the plan progresses.


February 2020

An invitation to Tender has been advertised in which we are seeking to appoint a Neighbourhood Planning Consult to help and advise through the process of drafting the Newbiggin by the Sea Neighbourhood Plan.

The deadline for tender returns is Friday 13th March 2020

Neighbourhood Planning Consultant Tender

July 2019

Thank you to all who took part in the first round of engagement on the Newbiggin by the Sea Neighbourhood Development Plan. A report detailing the feedback is attached.

Consultation report 190729

March 2019

Initial community consultation commences; 21st March to 15th April.

More information is available at our community drop-in events:

Wednesday 27th March 2pm-7pm at St. Bartholomew’s Church Centre

Saturday 30th March 11am -3pm at St. Bartholomew’s Church Centre

Share your views with us via Neighbourhood Development Plan Questionnaire

Find out more via Consultation background paper

January 2019

Steering Group meeting held to consider future consultation options.

September 2018

Inaugural meeting of the Steering Group held and new members appointed to include County Councillors for the area and a representative of Newbiggin Community Ventures.

March 2018

Steering group representation agreed by Town Council March 2018

February 2018

Neighbourhood Planning Area Designation

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Town Council applied to Northumberland County Council to designate the civil parish of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea as a neighbourhood area, with the express purpose of preparing a neighbourhood development plan.

The application was approved by Northumberland County Council on 07 February 2018.

Details of this application and the decision can be found below:

Neighbourhood Area Application.

Neighbourhood Area Decision Report.

Neighbourhood Area Decision Document.

Neighbourhood Area Map.  

October 2017

Town Council Resolves to commence a Neighbourhood Plan at the meeting held  October 2017
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