Town to get more of say on planning

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PEOPLE in Cramlington are set to be given more of a say on new developments in their town.

Cramlington – along with Morpeth – is among more than 200 towns picked to act as testing grounds for the Department for Communities and Local Government’s neighbourhood planning initiative.

They have been chosen as front-runners for the fifth wave of the initiative to devolve decision-making on planning matters closer to those affected.

Cramlington Town Council will be working with community groups and taking advice from Northumberland County Council to bring in the new system.

Planning chairman Dave Murray, pictured, said: “This neighbourhood planning process will give our residents a real opportunity to shape the future of our communities.

“It is going to give the council and the public a bigger say on what is being built and how it is being built and what we can achieve in Cramlington.”

Neighbourhood planning, part of the government’s localism bill, will enable local groups to draw up plans for their communities, subject to referendums, to set out the kind of development they want to prioritise.

Cramlington and Morpeth are among 108 projects in the fifth wave of front-runners selected to try out neighbourhood planning, bringing the total to 233.

Each is being given £20,000 to cover costs, along with free advice from planning experts.

Planning minister Greg Clark said: “Neighbourhood planning will hand power back to communities to decide the vision for their areas as they see fit, encouraging people to plan positively for their future.

“This is localism in action, and the enthusiasm across the country for neighbourhood planning shows how keen communities are to get involved.”

The scheme will empower communities to shape the development and growth of their towns through the production of a neighbourhood development plan or right-to-build order.

Neighbourhood development plans will help form the basis for determining future planning applications in the areas affected by them.