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Independent Examination

North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan Independent Examination

Further to my appointment to undertake the Independent Examination of the Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Development Plan and the speedy handling by Northumberland County Council of the set-up matters of appointment and contract; plan documentation; and confirmation of both contacts and strategic policies of the Development Plan, I am writing to clarify how I will conduct the examination.

  1. Communications

It is essential that the examination process is open and transparent to all interested parties. I would be grateful if Northumberland County Council, North Sunderland Parish Council, Beadnell Parish Council, and Bamburgh Parish Council could publish this email on their respective websites. I will address all future communication to Northumberland County Council, and send a copy to North Sunderland Parish Council as the lead Parish Council. It would be helpful if the lead Parish Council would channel all communication to me through Northumberland County Council, and that, when writing to me, Northumberland County Council copies-in the lead Parish Council. As this is the first time I have emailed North Sunderland Parish Council, Jill could you please acknowledge this message to confirm the communication channel is open.

  1. Examination documents

I have received a copy of the Submission Plan documents and Policies Maps posted to me by Northumberland County Council. I have access to electronic versions of the submission Plan documents. I have noted evidence base documents are available at I have also received electronic versions of Regulation 16 representations made to date and Northumberland County Council will send me all others received when the period for representations closes. Subject to my later detailed assessment I have not identified any obvious fundamental flaws in the submission documents that would lead me to advise the examination should not proceed. If I find that there are significant issues which may prevent the Plan meeting the basic conditions I will let you know during the examination.

  1. Independence

>From my initial review of the Plan documents and Regulation 16 representations it would appear that there are no conflicts of interest that would call into question my independent status.

  1. Visit to the Plan area

After I have thoroughly reviewed the Plan documents I intend to visit the plan area as this will assist me in understanding the nature of the Plan and help me decide if there are any issues to be clarified. I will undertake this visit on an unaccompanied basis as it is important that there should be no perception that I have heard additional representations.

  1. Clarification procedures

I may at any time during the Independent Examination seek written clarification of any matters that I consider necessary. I will direct any request for clarification to Northumberland County Council, copying in the lead Parish Council. Any request for clarification and any response should be published on the Northumberland County Council and Parish Council websites.

I am proceeding on the basis that the examination can be concluded without the need for a hearing. At any time before I issue my final report I may call a hearing if I consider this is necessary to ensure adequate examination of any issue, or to allow a person a fair chance to put a case.

  1. Examination timetable

The main determinants of how long the examination will take are firstly the number and complexity of the Plan Policies (I note the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan is comprehensive in nature and includes 25 policies, which is considerably more than many neighbourhood plans); the clarity of supporting evidence; and the number and nature of representations. Assuming a hearing will not be necessary I anticipate that within approximately 3 weeks I will be able to send a confidential draft of my report to Northumberland County Council and the lead Parish Council to allow an opportunity to check whether there are any factual errors. This will not be an opportunity for any further representations to be made.

  1. Procedural questions

I would be pleased to address any questions relating to the examination process that Northumberland County Council or the Parish Councils may have.


Chris Collison

Independent Examiner

Planning and Management Ltd

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