Ouseburn Futures has submitted an application to the City Council for the Ouseburn Valley Neighbourhood Forum to be approved, alongside an application for the Area to be covered by the Forum to be approved. This is the process we have to follow, as set out in the Localism Act 2011. Once the Neighbourhood Forum and its formal Area are approved, we can then start talking to our members, and to the people living beside the Valley, working in and visiting the Valley, about developing a Neighbourhood Plan for the Ouseburn Valley.
You can see the applications on this page on the Council’s website:
and this page tells you more about Neighbourhood Planning:
The Council is now carrying out formal consultation about the applications, as required by the Localism Act. We would be very pleased if all the members of Ouseburn Futures could write to express their views – hopefully to support our applications!
The closing date is February 29th 2016. You can send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the City Council at Newcastle City Council, Planning Policy, 9th Floor, Civic Centre, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.
Why are we applying to have a Neighbourhood Forum for the Ouseburn Valley?
Ouseburn Futures was charged over 2 years ago by Newcastle City Council with taking the lead in the implementation and monitoring of the Ouseburn Regeneration Plan. A key part of this is the physical development of the Valley. Ouseburn Futures has been happy to take the lead on looking strategically at development in the Valley, along with local councillors, and with support from council officers when they are able to.
This theme is important as one of the main unique selling points of the Ouseburn Valley is its physical character and its mix of uses. Too many poor developments or single use developments would destroy the vibrancy and attraction of the area, and lead to decline.
There is a long way to go before the regeneration of the valley is completed. We estimate that there are about 150 sites and buildings in Ouseburn, of which about a third remain to be developed. These include some larger sites whose impact on the area would be significant – for good or for bad – as well as numerous smaller sites and buildings, some of which have planning permission.
The Urban Core Plan and the current Ouseburn Regeneration Plan set high level strategic frameworks for development in the Ouseburn – mainly based on the mixed use Live/Work/Play/Learn themes – but there is not enough detail to be translated into any meaningful guidance for developers or owners of land. A Neighbourhood Plan would help us to provide that detailed thinking, and would have to be taken into account by the City Council in making planning decisions, and by developers in making proposals for developments in the area. It does not bind either party, and does not mean we decide what is going to be developed, but allows us to have influence over planning decisions in our area, by informing decisions about planning applications. Unwanted developments would be less likely, and good development would be more likely.
We also like the idea because a Neighbourhood Forum and Plan provides a good vehicle for engaging people. This in turn means not only having an influence in what happens in their area, but building community and social capital, and building links between people in different sectors, types of organisation and communities. We also envisage the spin-off benefit that it could lead to a stronger Ouseburn-wide community, able to work together to resolve issues before any become conflicts, to provide more support to each other (not-for-profit organisations, businesses and residents), and to work together on projects to provide good things for the whole community, across the whole Ouseburn Valley.
What do you think? Will you support the applications and support our ambition to involve as many people as possible in the development of the Valley? Please tell the Council what you think (and copy us in at email@example.com ) by February 29th.
If the Neighbourhood Forum and Area applications are approved, we will then be able to consult people about what should go into the Neighbourhood Plan. The views of people who live around the Area will be as important as those of people who live within the Area specified in our application. We will also plan to talk to people in the businesses, community organisations and other workplaces in and around the Valley (including schools), and to visitors to the area. We will do this in a wide variety of ways so as to make it as easy as possible for everyone who wants to to get involved, and in a fun way!
But remember that to vote on the final shape of the Neighbourhood Plan, you will need to be a member of the Ouseburn Valley Neighbourhood Forum – do if you are not a member yet, join up now! Here’s the application form for individuals, and here is the one for organisations.