The first steps have been taken to designate a neighbourhood planning area which will cover the parishes of Acomb and Wooler. Consultation on whether the local community supports this as a suitable area for neighbourhood planning is taking place from 9 October to the 9 November 2015. 

In Northumberland, neighbourhood planning must be led by parish and town councils, and through the plan they can use powers to shape where new homes, shops, offices and other businesses should be built, and what those new buildings should look like.  Plans must also take into account national planning policy and the policies set out in the Northumberland Local Plan. The county council has a statutory role in neighbourhood planning and it supports groups involved by providing advice on processes to be followed and by giving practical and technical support.

Details of the applications can be found on Northumberland County Council’s website.

Those who want to make comments on the proposed neighbourhood area can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write to the Strategic Planning and Housing team, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth NE61 2EF.

Representations must be received by Northumberland County Council on or before 9 November 2015 for the Acomb area and 20th November for the Wooler area.

The core strategy sets out the council’s priorities for Northumberland in the future – which include the creation of 10,000 additional jobs by 2031 and extending choice in the housing market. This will be the last chance for residents and other interested parties to have their say on the document before it is submitted to Government for independent examination – and follows four previous public consultations. This is the fifth large scale consultation on elements of the core strategy, and at each stage the council has listened to views and comments and amended the plan taking feedback into account.

The council wants to make sure that Northumberland thrives economically, and to do this it must allocate land for economic development and housing, while preserving and enhancing the county’s special environmental qualities.

The plan will be considered by the council’s cabinet on 29th September, and if agreed consultation will start on Wednesday 14th October.  This is a statutory consultation, and all comments and feedback must be received by Wednesday 25th November.  A leaflet will be posted through every door in the county explaining the consultation and how to have your say.  Twenty three drop-in events have been arranged right across Northumberland, where residents will be able to find out more, and ask questions of council officers. The full draft strategy, all of the evidence work that supports it and feedback forms will be available on the council’s website from 14th October 2015. Following this consultation it is expected that the core strategy will be submitted to Government in March 2016, with the examination taking place during that summer.  The plan could then be adopted in autumn 2016.

The CQC is organising engagement events across the county to give residents of Northumberland an opportunity to have their say on two pieces of work the commission is conducting:  

Firstly, Northumberland has been selected as one of two pilot areas to conduct a thematic review called Integrated Care for Older People.  As part of the review, the CQC is keen to hear about excellent examples of care as well as any care for older people that is poor and not joined up.  Click here for more information and send your examples of good or bad care to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Secondly, A CQC inspection of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which provides both hospital and community-based care including adult social care, is taking place in November and events will be held at locations across the county during the last week of October and the first week in November in order to gather experiences of using their services.  Healthwatch Northumberland says: “This is a fantastic opportunity to have your say on any experiences you have had whilst using services.  Further details will be available soon so contact us nearer the time if you are interested in finding out more.  You can call us on 03332 408 468 or check our website.”  

People living in Northumberland are being asked for their views about a range of issues, including what it is like to live in the area, what they think needs improving and how satisfied they are with how the county council runs things.

On behalf of the council, market research experts Ipsos Mori are sending out more than 8,000 questionnaires by post over the next few weeks to a random sample of residents the council to prioritise and develop its services.  All completed surveys will be treated confidentially and only seen by IpsosMori. Northumberland Council will receive a report on the overall findings and the results of the survey are expected in January. 

Deputy Leader for Northumberland County Council, Cllr Dave Ledger said: “It’s really important that we ask the people of Northumberland for their views on the area, our services and their priorities.

“The residents’ survey is one of the ways in which we do this. If you receive one of the questionnaires please do take the time to complete and return it. We are here to serve the people of Northumberland so it’s crucial we know what residents think and care about, especially during these difficult financial times.”

If anyone has any queries about the survey they can contact Ipsos Mori on 0808 141 3087 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Over the last few months, Healthwatch Northumberland has worked with children and young people across the county to create two animation projects. The first is a Lego animation which they have produced to explain what Healthwatch Northumberland does and how to contact them. The second project is around confidentiality in health services – an issue that was identified by children and young people as a priority for them.  Some described their negative experiences in this area, while others expressed concerns based on their perceptions of confidentiality within health services. 

The two animations can be viewed online here.  Healthwatch is keen to hear from you about how you have used them, where you have shown them and who to, and any feedback you’ve had from your audiences.