Aims & Objectives
Wooler in 2018 already has many of the attributes that make somewhere a desirable place in which to live. In going forward with a Neighbourhood plan we need to think about how to retain and enhance what is good about Wooler.
We also need to think about what we can do to make it even better.
What would we like to keep, what would we like to change, and what would we like to have that we don't already?
Not all of our aspirations may be directly relevant to a Neighbourhood Plan, the scope of which is defined by the Government and which also has to conform to the emerging Northumberland County Council Local Plan.
Our aspirations will, however, inform the content of the plan and give an indication of the strength of feeling within the community for the future of Wooler.
The deliberations of the members of the steering group and comments made by residents and businesses through questionnaires and at recent meetings have brought up a number of thoughts and observations.
What kind of future do we visualise when we think of Wooler in the coming decades?
An attractive, vibrant and friendly place in which a community of all ages can live, learn, work and relax.
A place with a strong sense of community and concern for our area
A place where young and old get on together, help and respect each other
A place with a beautiful landscape and access to many opportunities for playing, walking, hiking and biking, for sports, or just for quietly enjoying
A place which can retain its younger residents and families with diverse work opportunities, especially related to:
A place which attracts visitors and welcomes new residents of all ages
A place which retains and enhances its leisure, shopping, transport and educational facilities
What we are trying to achieve through Wooler Neighbourhood Plan?
These are key issues about how land is used and developed which a Neighbourhood Plan can affect. The following are key thoughts that have emerged in discussions so far. Your input and further suggestions will be most welcome.
Preserve our distinctive Landscape and Natural Environment, Townscape and Heritage
Why: We all value our beautiful place with its special history; and it attracts many visitors and new residents
How:By putting policies in place that clearly support developments that demonstrate high quality and locally distinctive design, reflecting the local vernacular of Wooler. All planning applications should preserve or enhance our cherished and distinctive landscape and townscape.
Encourage Re-Use of Key Derelict Sites
Why: To give a good impression about our Town to visitors, passers-by and to ourselves
How: By putting policies in place that clearly support development proposals along South Road which enhance and improve the appearance of the entrances to Wooler.
Promote more variety of housing, with choices for all age and income groups
Why: To meet identified needs ; to attract people in order to sustain the level and vitality of shops, services, etc in our area
How: By putting policies in place that clearly support development on allocated sites for housing, including affordable housing, market housing and housing designed to be adaptable for life time use.
Promote accessibility within/around Wooler, especially for those on foot, bike, mobility vehicles
Why: Younger ones and older ones often don’t have a car; and many visitors like to get around on foot or by bike or mobility scooter.
How: By putting policies in place that clearly support development and improvement of footpaths and cycleways.
Maintain and improve Wooler Town Centre as a lively place to shop, meet friends and just to visit
Why: The Town Centre is the core of Wooler for most people; it's a key centre for the wider area, and is very attractive for visitors
How: By putting policies in place to support development that contributes to the vitality and viability of the town centre.
Encourage more space for small business units
Why: Micro-businesses (especially internet-based) are increasing in our area and an important source of employment
How:By putting policies in place that support the retention of land for employment purposes in Wooler including new builds, the provision of live-work units and conversion of existing buildings.
We also realise that many things we’d like to encourage may not be appropriate for a formal Neighbourhood Plan. We are keeping track of these as we go along, and hope to find other ways to develop some of the good ideas.