A project aimed at supporting regeneration has won a regional award for innovation in the planning process.
Northumberland County Council won the 2013 Special Award from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) for the Blyth Estuary project.
The sites involved include the former coal-fired power station and the stacking yard of the former colliery in south east Northumberland, which are in close proximity to Ramsar, a Special Protection Area as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The development orders were introduced as an incentive to prospective investors and will mean that developers can establish business related uses on these sites without the need to apply for planning permission.
The East Sleekburn Local Development Order covers two sites to the north of the River Blyth Estuary, either side of Brock Lane. The Bates Local Development Order covers part of the former Bates site on the south side of the Estuary.
Both orders grant planning consent for business and industrial uses including offices, general and light industry, areas and buildings for storage, and research and development facilities.
Developers still need to satisfy a range of criteria to be able to commence development.
Coun Allan Hepple, policy board member for planning, housing and regeneration, said: “This work reflects the council’s proactive approach to revitalising the Blyth Estuary area and attracting new jobs to south east Northumberland.
“The award is testament to the hard work of everyone involved and we are delighted to have received it for this innovative work.”
The judges were impressed with the way they considered the environmental impact of the project.