The Forum is currently looking for a treasurer. This is a great opportunity to volunteer for a community organisation that is working to make Whitburn an even better place to live. You’ll be working with the committee to get the Neighbourhood Plan ready. Your duties will be to apply for funding and look after the Forum’s account. Please get in touch if you’re interested in this position. You’ll need to be a member of the Forum or be eligible to become one (meaning you need to live or work in Whitburn).
From the sea to the east and green fields to the north, south and west, Whitburn has many lovely views. Part of the neighbourhood plan is to add a policy that protects these long-range views, in addition to any important ridge lines.
We now need to know from residents which views they value the most. Please fill in our survey at https://bit.ly/Whitburnviews. We will collate all most valued views and include them on the policy map that will form part of the plan. The survey closes 18 June.
Due to the current situation with Covid-19, all forum meetings have been suspended. Committee meetings are currently taking place via video conference. We will inform residents when forum meetings will be face-to-face again. Until then, if we run any consultation events, these will be done virtually, or we will send out leaflets to all residents. In the meantime, we hope everyone stays safe.
Whitburn Neighbourhood Forum has submitted their response to the draft Local Plan. You can read this here.
The response discusses our concerns on the way the community has been made aware of the plan. We also point out the conflicts between the draft Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan for Whitburn, which is currently in development. The Forum then refers to the results of community consultation on the draft Local Plan, including the survey that was conducted.
The response then goes into detail on a variety of topics, including housing, infrastructure, natural environment and landscape / green belt. We have also included our views on the supporting documents that were submitted with the draft Local Plan. These supporting documents that are meant to provide the evidence to the Plan contain inconsistencies and are inadequate. They do not provide a comprehensive or objective assessment of plan impacts.
The Forum therefore objects to the draft Plan, as it will have severe impacts on the village of Whitburn and its setting, as well as on the local community. We
recommend that evidence to support the Plan is improved, that impact assessments are carried out accurately and that site allocations and quantum of development in Whitburn are significantly reduced.
The Forum has now received funding to employ a planning consultant to help us produce a draft Neighbourhood Plan. The consultant will look at the evidence we have available for our plan and if there are any gaps. All the evidence will then be translated into neighbourhood plan policies that adhere to national and local planning policy and should pass the scrutiny of the council and an independent planning examiner. The consultant will help to translate what our community wants and needs into a sound plan that can be used as guidance for any new development that comes forward.
Work on this has already started. We will keep you updated with progress and will consult residents on the draft once it is finished, which should be by the end of the year.
The council is holding one more drop-in event for the residents of Whitburn to explain the Local Plan to them. Planning officers will be there to answer any questions. You can also pick up paper response forms to fill in.
We encourage anyone who can make it to attend this event, to show that the community cares about their village and to let them know what our concerns are about losing green belt and building hundreds of houses. If you can pick up extra response forms and hand them out to neighbours, we might be able to increase knowledge on the Local Plan, especially as the council decided not to post any leaflets to inform people. We understand that many people are unaware of the plan, so do spread the word!
DROP IN EVENT
The Forum meeting on 20 September had a great turnout. The committee explained the work they had done so far to scrutinise the housing figures in the draft local plan, and to assess the impacts of the proposed developments on infrastructure and biodiversity in Whitburn. We provided a summary of the responses from the online survey on residents' views on the local plan as well.
Several people asked for a summary of the facts and figures and the survey responses we provided at the meeting, so they are in an informed position to respond individually to the draft local plan. You can find these here:
You can still fill in our survey (online or paper copies available at the village barber), but we also encourage everyone to respond to the council directly. You can do this:
The Draft Local Plan was published on 31st July. The council approved the draft plan on 7th August. A consultation period started 18th August and closes on the 11th October 2019. The Forum is seeking the views of the community to formally respond to the draft plan.
How will the plan affect Whitburn?
The draft South Tyneside Local Plan proposes to build at least 397 houses on 5 greenbelt sites in Whitburn between 2016 and 2036. These sites are at the Whitburn Lodge and adjacent horses' fields, at the Charley Hurley Centre (Cleadon Lane) and at land between Wellands Lane and Lizard Lane. Also see attached map for the location of the proposed sites.
How will these additional homes increase the population of Whitburn?
The current population of Whitburn is 5298 and the current number of dwellings is 2545 which gives an average number of people per dwelling as 2.08. If 397 of the proposed new dwellings were built the increase in population would be 825, a 16% increase. The office for national Statistics project an increase in population for the North East of England over the next ten years at 1.9% and the figure for South Tyneside is 1.2%. Whitburn will inevitably suffer a disproportionate population growth.
What type of houses can we expect to be built?
The sites on Whitburn green belt are very attractive to developers as they will be able to maximise their profits by building large executive type houses. The council have included in their policy their aim to increase the supply of detached homes in the Borough, including ‘executive’ housing.
When will the development take place?
The council have declared a minimum requirement of 350 houses per year. The council proposes to release Green Belt land to ensure enough houses can be provided in the first five years of the plan period. The Whitburn sites are therefore likely to be among the first sites in the borough to be developed.
How can the residents of Whitburn add their views to the Forum’s response to these proposals?
Whitburn Neighbourhood Forum is holding a meeting to explain South Tyneside’s draft Local Plan and its impact on Whitburn. The Forum wants to hear from the community what their biggest concerns are, so it can form a response as a designated neighbourhood forum, which will be sent to the council. All those who live or work in Whitburn are welcome to attend.
The meeting is on Friday 20th September at 7.30pm. Venue: Methodist Chapel, main hall, North Guards.