New data on housing ‘shows we were right’

Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council.

Northumberland County Council has welcomed Government figures on projected future housing needs for the county.

In the summer, the local authority withdrew the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy that had been sent to the Government for independent examination to review a number of aspects of the document.

Key to the review was concerns over the housing numbers contained within the previous core strategy, which put the proposed level at 24,320 by 2031 plus the inclusion of up to an additional 2,000 houses in the Dissington Garden Village.

Now, new data from the Government’s consultation paper suggests a need for 707 new homes per year in the county over the period 2016-26 – substantially less than the level proposed in the withdrawn core strategy.

However, this is a baseline figure that can be uplifted as a result of a strategic infrastructure project or through increased employment (and therefore housing) ambition, as a result of a Local Economic Partnership investment strategy, a bespoke housing deal with Government or through delivering the modern Industrial Strategy.

Further work is required to consider the Government housing numbers in this context before a housing number in the new plan can be established.

Council leader Coun Peter Jackson said: “This new data shows we were right to withdraw the Local Plan and it is quite possible it would have been rejected anyway by the Secretary of State, using the previous figures.

“Using these figures, we’ll be able to plan for a sustainable and prosperous future for our county as we work on the revised document.”

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