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County Councillor Report (May 2024) – Tel. 07779 983072

And also on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison

Portrait photo of Councillor Wendy Pattison
Cllr Wendy Pattison

Received: 30 April 2024.

[All text, images and logos provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission.]


Useful Emergency Numbers

Cllr Pattison has complied a list of useful emergency numbers. These can be accessed from the link below:

Useful emergency numbers

Thriving Together

Thriving Together aims to bring the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector together to make a positive impact on the lives of Northumberland residents

So, what does Thriving Together actually do?

In a nutshell: We are here to bring the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector together to make a positive impact on the lives of Northumberland residents. 

Slightly longer answer: In August 2021, Thriving Together were awarded the commission from Northumberland County Council to provide VCSE support. The underpinning ethos was to give all organisations within the sector the opportunity to thrive and achieve potential. Our aim is to showcase the work of the sector through collaboration and partnership working to make a positive impact on the lives of Northumberland residents. We enable a strategic partnership offering best fit representation, building sustainability through our presence. Our approach is to be inclusive by offering non-membership support to all VCSE organisations throughout the county. For more information – Tel  01670 618020

CEO Sleepout

CEO Sleepout poster

Funding Opportunities

New to applying for funding and not sure where to start?

Don’t be afraid to contact the funder – if you have questions you can discuss your ideas and application! Many funders welcome this contact and sometimes have outreach workers who will support you through the application process. Check out the organisations below who may be able to help.

Community Foundation

Community Foundation logo

Grant support for causes in Northumberland from 300 funds and donors

Northumberland County Council

Northumberland County Council logo

Subscribe to their Grants Online free monthly e-newsletter and the Community Chest

National Lottery Community Fund

National Lottery Community Fund logo

Distributes over £600m a year to UK communities

Arts Council England

Arts Council England logo

Investing in arts and culture for a lasting return. 

Conservation areas

There are 70 conservation areas in Northumberland – You can find out where they are, why they’re special and why you need permission to change them.

Conservation areas are places of special architectural or historic interest with character or appearance which is desirable to preserve or enhance.

How are they designated?

These areas are designated by local authorities who assess the ‘specialness’. A conservation area recognises, protects and celebrates areas of special character to protect the area and its features.


Before we review a present conservation area, or designate a new one, we consult a range of local groups and people. We’re required to give notice of the designation, or changes to an existing conservation area, in a local newspaper and the London Gazette.

What defines ‘special character’ in a conservation area?

A conservation area will typically have a concentration of historic buildings, but its character and interest can come from other factors, including:

  • views in and out of the area
  • historic layout of property boundaries and roads
  • character and architectural style
  • social and historic associations
  • how people experience places at different times of day and night and seasonally
  • locally important buildings
  • characteristic building materials
  • open spaces, green areas, parks and gardens, trees
  • street furniture, e.g. lamp posts, bollards, seating
  • colours and textures
  • local distinctiveness and sense of place

Character can also draw on more abstract ideas such as sounds, environmental conditions and historical changes, which create a distinctive sense of place, a feature that’s wholly protected.
There are more than 8,000 conservation areas in England, with 70 in Northumberland.

The council can monitor change to ensure  areas are preserved or enhanced. This isn’t to stop change, but to protect special characteristics.

New development proposals

New developments can be sympathetic to the architectural and aesthetic qualities of an area, particularly when the design contributes positively to the character, distinctiveness or significance.
A successful proposal will be one that takes into account:

  • the significance of nearby assets and contribution of their setting
  • the general character and distinctiveness of buildings, spaces, public realm and the landscape
  • landmarks or other features
  • the diversity or uniformity in style, construction, materials, detailing, decoration and period of existing buildings/ spaces
  • the topography
  • views into and from the site and surroundings
  • green landscaping
  • the current and historic issues in the area

Alterations, repairs and extensions

To maintain and protect the area, care needs to be taken during alterations, repairs and extensions. This is to ensure they do not detract from the area’s appearance.

You need permission to make changes, including but not exclusively:

  • certain types of cladding
  • inserting dormer windows
  • putting up satellite dishes visible from the street

Even small changes can detract from the area’s character, so all need to be carefully considered. This could include use of original timber for windows or doors when repairing/replacing.

Property owners are encouraged to retain and repair surviving historic features and replace inappropriate/ poorly detailed replacement fittings/fixtures.

Additional restrictions

An Article 4 (2) direction is usually applied over an area, and works by removing permitted development rights on certain types of minor alterations or extensions. It only usually relates to parts of a building facing a street or public footpath, but can cover the rear of buildings or developments such as sheds.
The council can make further restrictions, depending on alterations and their effect.

Examples include:

  • putting up porches
  • painting the outside of a house a different colour
  • changing distinctive doors, windows or other architectural details
  • changing to boundaries
  • chimneys

We must have a good reason for making these restrictions and take account of public views before doing so. We may also have to pay compensation in circumstances where you cannot obtain planning permission for development which otherwise would be permitted.


We require more detail for planning applications related to conservation areas than normal applications.
Most should include:

  • a plan with the application building/ site clearly marked
  • a brief description of proposals
  • fully detailed ‘before and after’ drawings of external elevations affected by the proposal
  • a landscaping scheme (if relevant)
  • a heritage statement of the effect of the proposal on character and appearance.

Demolishing a building/ structure
Since 2013 planning permission has been required for demolition of a building in a conservation area.


Subject to some exceptions, trees are protected in conservation areas in a similar manner to those under a tree preservation order. Therefore, if you wish to fell, lop or top, or uproot a tree in a conservation area, you must give us six weeks’ notice in writing. It is an offence if you carry out work during that period.

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