County Councillor Report
by Wendy Pattison
firstname.lastname@example.org – Tel. 07779 983072
I would like to wish Hedgeley Parish Council and All Residents a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and all the very best for 2018. I do hope that you will all be able to take some time out from your busy lives to enjoy the festivities with your family and friends. I rely very much on your input and feedback to let me know when things in your area are not right and are not working as they should be and I want to ensure during 2018 that I can continue to help make improvements throughout Hedgeley Parish.
This has been a very busy and an exciting six months since I was elected as the County Councillor for the Longhoughton Ward on May 4th 2017. The speed camera van for Powburn was planned to be in place by September, however, because some of the long standing legal signing for the 30mph speed restriction was missing, the Council could have been criticised for having a van there and this unfortunately has delayed the arrival of the camera van. As soon as the signs are installed the police will be able to start enforcement. I am sorry for the delay and can appreciate the difficulties the village face, however, I know the local community would want enforcement carried out correctly and with legal signs allowing tickets to be issued. I expect the van to be in place before Christmas 2017.
Longstanding drainage issues just outside the village have also now been resolved.
Nine Parish Council meetings
The September meeting was extremely successful and everyone will meet again next year on Friday March 9th 2018 at the Thrunton Trout Fishery. Mr Bob Hodgson, NCC Area Manager for Neighbourhood Services will attend this meeting and he will be able to look at any issues Parish Councils may have regarding Refuse, Litter Bins, Hedges, Grass Cutting etc.
Housing White Paper Consultations/Neighbourhood Planning
The county council are keen to promote Neighbourhood Planning and as such can offer assistance in the following areas:
- Procedural guidance
- Technical assistance
- Advice on policy content and drafting
- Provision of maps
- Attendance at meetings
- Dedicated link officer as consistent point of contact (me!)
Please see links below for both the initial and secondary consultation regarding housing supply, proposals for improving the situation and providing some guidance regarding calculation of housing requirements. The bulk of the content relevant to the production of the neighbourhood plan is in the secondary consultation, however, the initial consultation provides background and light evening reading!
MyStreet app to be rolled out across region
A mobile phone app which makes it easier for residents to report issues affecting their local community is being rolled out across the region.
The mobile app, ‘MyStreet Northumberland’, was designed by the Safer Northumberland Partnership and Improving Croft and Cowpen Quay (ICCQ) following a pilot in the “12 Streets” campaign which focused on identifying issues affecting twelve streets in Cowpen Quay and putting in long-term solutions.
Residents can download the new app and use it to access information on a number of problems such as anti-social behaviour, noise, litter, street lighting and roads all in one place.
From here, app users can access advice or report specific incidents to the council or if they have information or concerns about crime and disorder where they live they can access advice via the app or they can contact their local neighbourhood policing team direct.
Councillor John Riddle, chair of Safer Northumberland, said: “While Northumberland has low crime levels, we know there are issues that affect people’s quality of life and it’s important communities can easily access advice and report anything they’re worried about.
“The app has already been successful, being downloaded thousands of times in its first year, and we’re delighted it’s being rolled out by Northumbria Police to other local authorities in the area.”
The app is free to download onto iPhone, Android, and Windows devices by searching ‘MyStreet’ in the app store.
Northumberland County Council grit the roads when temperatures are expected to fall to zero or below. Rock salt is spread to lower the freezing point of the surface and it takes about three hours to cover Northumberland. NCC aim to grit all the routine roads by 8am each day, although gritting becomes less effective the further the temperature drops.
The Council use specialised weather reports from the Met Office, insight from our road condition sensors, which monitor road temperature, and a wealth of local knowledge to decide on the right time to grit.
Please note: in extreme conditions, like freezing rain, no treatment will prevent ice from forming, although these kinds of conditions are very rare and usually short-lived.
Snow Clearance When snow falls in excess of 50mm, with possible drifting, snowploughs attached to gritters will be used. Snowblowers and other specialist machines are also sometimes used.
In severe snow conditions it’s not possible to clear all the roads at once, so we prioritise roads in the following order:
- principal roads – cleared to a minimum two-lane width
- roads into towns and villages – at least one road into each to allow for access to the cleared major roads
- major town centres
Snow clearance on other roads will only take place when the higher priority roads have been cleared, which may take several days.
Core Strategy Update
New local plan will set policies for next 20 years
A new timetable has been laid out for preparation of the Northumberland Local Plan – the key planning policies for the county up to 2036.
Northumberland County Council’s cabinet considered a report (November) which set out the stages of a comprehensive review of previous proposals, and how a new plan will be submitted to Government by summer 2019.
This will be a Local Plan which will include far more detailed planning policies than would have been provided in the now withdrawn Core Strategy Local Plan, allowing for a consistent set of planning policies right across Northumberland. The council’s local development framework member working group has considered the options available for preparation of the plan – and the cabinet will be recommended to agree that all elements of the plan should be developed together, rather than the previous process of a Core Strategy first, followed by a detailed policies document afterwards. Plan preparation will follow a comprehensive review and update of the evidence contained within the previous Core Strategy, which was withdrawn by the new council in July this year, with the timescales set out in a revised Local Development Scheme. This approach is based on new and developing national policy and guidance, and will allow for consideration of the Government’s proposed methodology for calculating local housing need, which was subject to consultation earlier this month. The plan will be submitted to Government for examination by Summer 2019 and, following examination, will be adopted by Summer 2020, with periods of public consultation throughout the process. A formal position statement by the council following withdrawal of the previous draft Core Strategy, and a Five-Year Housing Land Supply document, are also set to be agreed by the cabinet.
The Five-Year Housing Land Supply document demonstrates that the County has sufficient housing land to meet needs over the next five years, and will strengthen the existing planning policy framework that forms the basis for the determination of planning applications up to the point when a Local Plan is agreed. In addition to this, the development of further Neighbourhood Plans continues to add further local detailed planning policy coverage across the county. The most recent being the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan, which is being recommended to be formally ‘made’ at the cabinet meeting on 23rd. Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing and Resilience, said: “We are committed to providing a sustainable and prosperous future for our county as we work on the Local Plan. “This is an extremely detailed and comprehensive piece of work which will detail our planning policies for the next 20 years and it is imperative we get it right.”