Some good news: the council’s cabinet has agreed that the Whitburn Neighbourhood Plan should go to referendum. This means that all Whitburn residents will be invited to have their say on the Plan. If the majority votes ‘yes’, the plan will be adopted and Whitburn will have its own planning rules that all developers will need to follow.
We will be providing more information to residents about the referendum and the Whitburn Neighbourhood Plan, so that everyone can have an informed vote.
In the meantime, write down down the referendum date in your agenda: 4 August!
The Forum is happy to announce that the Plan has gone through examination successfully. The examiner has recommended that depending on some changes to the Plan, they are happy that the Plan is sound and meets all the required legal and policy tests. The examiner also congratulated the Forum on how they have carried out community consultation, even during COVID times.
The next step is that the council will make the recommended changes to the Plan, which the Forum will check. The Plan then goes for approval to the cabinet committee, and if all goes well, it will then go to a local referendum. The referendum will be held in the village and will give residents the opportunity to vote on the Plan. If they approve the plan for adoption, we will finally be able to influence development in the village. More info on the referendum to follow once we have confirmation.
The Whitburn Neighbourhood Plan has been made by and for residents. The aim is for the Plan to be adopted, so that future planning applications will have to follow the rules within the Plan. This means that the Plan will have to go through a long process before it can be adopted.
Firstly, residents and organisations will have the chance to make comments - this is the consultation that the council is running on the Plan now. Secondly, the Plan will need to be examined by an independent person with planning experience. The examiner will consider all the comments and look at the Plan carefully to make sure it complies with national laws and policies. The examiner will then write a report for the Forum and the council in which they will recommend certain changes to make sure the Plan is sound (i.e. complies with law and policy). They will also say whether the Plan can proceed to referendum.
The council will then consider whether they want to accept these recommendations and if it can proceed to referendum. If the council does not agree with the examiner, they will have to provide a good reason why not. The Forum can also still decide if they agree with the council's changes and can always withdraw the Plan.
If the council agrees that the Plan should go to referendum, the council will then organise this referendum. Residents of Whitburn will be invited to vote. If the Plan receives more than 50% of 'yes' votes, it will be adopted. It will then be used to determine planning applications.
There are some important steps to go through, but we are hoping that by April next year we will have an adopted Plan that works for Whitburn.
As you might remember, the Forum consulted on a draft neighbourhood plan earlier this year. We received lots of comments and support from residents. We then worked with a planning consultant to include these comments into the final Plan and to make sure the Plan was in line with national rules and policies on neighbourhood planning.
We also took some advice from experts on our sewerage and air quality policies, and we made some changes to the wording and the evidence documents.
We now have a good plan that hopefully has a good chance of being adopted. But before then, there are many more steps to take, which will be explained in the next post. The first step is that the council is inviting residents and others to comment on the plan through its website: www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/57607/Whitburn-Neighbourhood-Planning
The deadline is 19 November. Please leave you feedback and provide your support for the plan if you can.
The Whitburn Neighbourhood Forum is happy to announce that we have now finished the Whitburn Neighbourhood Plan and have submitted it to the council. This means that the council is now running a public consultation, on which residents, businesses and other organisations can comment.
The Plan is made by and for residents and through its policies we want to ensure that any future development will make the village a better place.
The consultation runs until 19 November, You can find out all the documents and ways to comment on the council's website.
We wanted to provide a quick update to let residents know that we are still working hard on our final neighbourhood plan, which we will be submitting to the council imminently. It took a bit longer than expected, because we have a couple of really ambitious policies in there that needed some external expertise to make sure they are worded right. We wanted to take the extra time to ensure the Plan is in the best shape it can be, because it will be inspected by an independent examiner and we want to give it the biggest chance of making it through. We also thought it was very important to include some complex policies in there on matters that are really important in Whitburn, which meant we needed some extra technical support. Excluding these policies would have given us a final plan much sooner, but it would have meant missing the opportunity to make a real difference. Through the Neighbourhood Plan we want any future development to help protect and improve the place where we all live, work, exercise and socialise, and where our children play and grow up.
Please watch this space for some more news coming soon.
A Whitburn Forum member has started a petition and asks for your support to Stop Sewage Pollution at Whitburn
The petition has the support of South Tyneside Environmental protection, Marine Conservation for the UK, Whitburn Forum and our local MP Emma Lewell-Buck.
Support our campaign to Stop Sewage Pollution at Whitburn and help Fight Climate Change
The sea life at Whitburn is being destroyed by Sewage; the rock pools at Whitburn beach once teemed with wildlife but are now barren. The dolphins that are sighted daily swimming near the sewage overflow are forced to make their way through a soup of sewage when discharges are taking place.
Sewage pollution is killing seagrass meadows. Seagrasses can absorb more carbon up to 40 faster than terrestrial forests and these ecosystems become sources of CO2 emissions when they are degraded or destroyed. A major driver of seagrass decline is nutrient pollution from sewage. The UK has lost 90% of seagrass meadows due to pollution.
South Shields beach lost its blue flag in 2019. Marsden does not have a blue flag due to high levels of E. Coli in the bathing water.
Enough sewage to fill 304 Olympic sized swimming pools was discharged nearby at Whitburn in 2019.
Help Stop Sewage Pollution at Whitburn. Sign and share our petition:
The consultation on the pre-submission version of the Whitburn Neighbourhood Plan has now closed. Thank you for all your comments. The quality of feedback has been really high and each comment will help to improve the plan.
We are going through the comments with our planning consultant. We hope to be able to let you know in March what changes have been made to the plan.
Please take a few minutes read the following message from the chairman:
Dear Forum Members,
The Whitburn Neighbourhood Plan gives you, the residents of Whitburn, the opportunity to shape the future of your village. The Plan aims to give you more say about how your area will be developed in the next 15 years.
This Neighbourhood Plan is prepared by local residents for local residents, so to have your support is critical. Residents have found in the past that new development did not meet the needs of the community. Development was not in character with the village, it was often not affordable, poorly designed, and not supported by appropriate infrastructure. Now that new development is likely to take place as part of the emerging Local Plan, it is more important than ever to ensure that it brings benefits to the community and not just the developer.
These are the areas of Whitburn potentially affected by development:
WH8 Whitburn Lodge – 25 units.
WH9a Land to North of Shearwater - 57 units
WH9b Land to the East of Mill Lane, Whitburn - 40 units
WH17 Land at Wellands Farm, Whitburn – 200 units
WH19 Former Charlie Hurley Centre, Cleadon Lane, Whitburn- 75 units
The attached file shows a map of Whitburn highlighting these sites.
Have we got the infrastructure, (schools, doctors, roads, sewage treatment plant) to accommodate this development? If not, what should we be doing about it? We cannot stop development, but we can shape it and make sure it meets the needs of the residents of Whitburn.
The Neighbourhood Plan aims to achieve this by creating a new vision for the future of Whitburn. Through this Plan we want to make sure that housing will meet the needs of the village, that the quality of design will be high and that heritage assets, community facilities and the natural environment are respected and protected. There has never been a more important time to have a powerful strategy for the development of Whitburn, which this Neighbourhood Plan is seeking to provide.
We have tried hard to make sure the Plan reflects the views of residents in the village as well as local businesses. We have undertaken a significant amount of consultation to produce this Plan. This pre-submission draft consultation is our final stage of consultation and we will make further modifications based on the feedback we receive. The Plan will then be submitted to the Council for re-consultation and examination by a planning inspector.
We would like your views on the Plan, and your comments about the policies we are proposing.
Remember that due to the pandemic, the Plan can only be accessed online. To view the plan and to leave your comments go to whitburnforum.co.uk
Alternatively, please email email@example.com, or write to 87 Shearwater, SR6 7SG.
THE CLOSING DATE FOR COMMENTS IS SUNDAY 7 FEBRUARY SO PLEASE HURRY AND RESPOND AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO THE FUTURE OF WHITBURN.
Philip Leaf (Chair)
We are now consulting on the draft Whitburn Neighbourhood Plan. It has taken three years and a lot of work by volunteers to produce this first draft. We have consulted the community throughout, but we are now asking for your views on the complete plan and supporting documents. We will use all of your comments to review the Plan and make changes.