The vision is what we would like the Parish to be like in 2036. The draft is as follows:
To plan and develop the Parish of Longhoughton including the villages of Boulmer, Howick and Longhoughton, to be attractive places to live and grow with a community that is thriving whilst protecting the natural environment and built heritage for the period to 2036. To be achieved sustainably by meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, and by working together to benefit all residents in a cohesive and inclusive manner. All people who live in the Parish to have the opportunity to participate in the planning and development of the community and to feel proud of where they live.
The Objectives set out the way in which we change to achieve the vision. The draft objectives are as follows:-
Housing. To identify the quantity and type of housing needed in the Parish, reflecting the distinct requirements in the villages of Boulmer, Howick and Longhoughton, and to identify suitable sites for development.
Business. To support and encourage appropriate and sustainable levels of business growth and development in the Parish.
Environment. To protect and enhance the natural environment both within and outside the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the coastal Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and to ensure suitable access for their appreciation.
Heritage. To protect and enhance the distinctive character of the villages and the built heritage, and establish design and standards criteria for future building.
Community. To protect and develop the key community facilities and infrastructure, including health, recreation and sport in order to ensure that the community is inclusive and sustainable.
Transport and Access. To ensure that all residents have access to facilities and services and to work with partners to create a safe and high quality roads, pavements and green routes including footpaths, cycle routes and bridleways.
This is the evidence gathered so far on the opinions of people on what needs to change.
Boulmer Survey and Review 2017
Second homes and holiday lets are threatening the sustainability of the village at 40%.
Any new housing should be affordable housing only –
restricted to people who live and work in the area.
67% support small businesses provided no impact on village.
Natural Environment, Built Environment, Recreation, Open Spaces and Connectivity
Support for unspoiled Boulmer and for the AONB.
Access to Services, Shops, Doctor’s Surgery, Hospital, Public Transport
No personal transport – 2 households.
Need for High Speed Broadband.
Interest in renewable energy.
Longhoughton Survey and Review 2018
There is a need for a Strategic Plan.
Recent development has taken place without investment in the infrastructure and community facilities,
An urgency to make changes.
71% consider we should embrace new housing for it makes the village more sustainable.
Economic Development, Retail, Tourism.
High support for the Café/Bistro/Pub/post office counter/toilets.
Over 50% in favour of new businesses linked to tourism.
Support for Retail Spar site and Hairdresser.
Natural Environment, Built Environment, Recreation, Open Spaces and Connectivity.
Lack of connectivity between Estates – a health and safety and a social issue.
Recreational areas are considered very important.
68% consider that the old Recreational field should be retained and developed.
Otherwise enough recreational spaces.
Support for conservation of the environment and the AONB.
More footpaths will help connectivity and tourism.
Community Facilities, Infrastructure, Amenity, Sports and Social.
Identified need for additional social and learning opportunities.
80% in favour of a MUGA.
60% in favour of a drop-in facility for older teenagers.
94% supported more activities for older people.
Access to Services, Shops, Doctor’s Surgery, Hospitals, Public Transport
37% report poor Broadband speeds.
9 respondents report difficulty getting access to services.
54% consider that the Surgery facilities are not adequate for their needs.
Howick Survey and Review 2019
Characteristics and Features
The following information defines the parish and the villages in terms of its characteristics and features and the what people like about where they live.
The three rural villages of Boulmer, Howick and Longhoughton occupy approximately three miles of the coastline east of Alnwick in Northumberland between the Howick Fault and Seaton Point on the coast. This north-south coast is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) which is between a mile and two miles wide at any point. The low laying rocky shoreline is punctuated by fine sandy beaches at Rumbling Kern, Sugar Sands, Howdiemont Sands and Boulmer Haven. It is a very popular place for birdwatching. To the west, Alnwick is less than five miles away and beyond are the Cheviot Hills. The prevailing weather through the year tends to come from the west forcing much of the rain to fall in Cumbria and on the north Pennines before reaching Northumberland. However, there can be high winds and cold blasts when it comes from the north east and the east.
The economy here is predominantly agriculture, fishery and tourism, but the presence of RAF Boulmer adds a significant element to its uniqueness. The area accommodates RAF personnel and their families and this includes Ministry of Defence built properties in Longhoughton. Howick Gardens is a unique and significant tourist attraction and local employer. There are also a number of holiday cottages and second homes, which means that the villages tend to be busier in the summer and during school holidays. In recent years there has been a steady increase in the amount of house building and in 2018 Story Homes began building sixty six houses in Longhoughton, which they aim to complete in 2020.
The cluster of single story buildings that were the homes of Boulmer fishermen is the main feature that defines the village. These homes are located on the dunes just above sea level. The Fishing Boat Inn is part of this cluster and is a favourite with visitors. It features a Victorian painting by Arthur Marsh which shows the lifeboat being launched by the village women in their long skirts. To the south of this cluster of houses is the sweeping bay of Boulmer Haven and beyond the more rugged dunes of Seaton Point. Boulmer is favoured by tourists and visitors and 40% of properties are either holiday lets or second homes.
Other than the Fishing Boat Inn and a small gallery, there are no other commercial buildings in the village but inshore fishing from Boulmer Haven still takes place with two boats regularly fishing for crabs, lobsters and salmon in season.
The largest employer in the Ward is RAF Boulmer that occupies a site between Boulmer and Longhoughton. There is one working farm and close to Seaton Point there are two caravan sites for permanent holiday caravans. Boulmer has its own village hall which is a First World War Barrack hut that has recently been refurbished.
A national cycling route (1) passes through Boulmer along with the St Oswald’s Way long distance walking route and the new round Britain walking route will also come through the village. Boulmer beach and dunes are a favourite with local people for dog walking and all year round sea swimmers.
Boulmer people are proud of their village and the heritage that reflects dependence on fishing and the sea. Many families have links with sea rescues and the Boulmer Voluntary Rescue Service still takes that role.
People do not want to see the village spoiled by inappropriate development and value the AONB status. They see the lack of affordable housing as a barrier to the future sustainability of the community.
The residents of Howick obviously love where they live for its location, history, wildlife, outstanding beauty and the tranquility of estate life here. They tend to travel to Alnwick for their domestic needs such as medical services and regular shopping, and they all know each other since the number of villagers is small.
Howick is dominated by Howick Hall estate and its extensive gardens, exactly a mile from the sea at Rumbling Kern, which features Earl Grey’s Bathing House, now a holiday cottage. The estate built village is mostly well spaced, period single story, stone built dwellings and is surrounded by farms which feature sheep and cattle on sumptuous green pasture and arable crops. The area is well wooded, and conceals Howick Burn, reputedly a fine trout stream. There are pleasant walks across and through the parish, not least St Oswald’s Way, the coastal path and the National Cycle Route which also links Howick with Longhoughton and Boulmer.
Little Houghton is part of the Howick Estate and is located across the east coast rail line and a little further inland. The fact that Howick village was built with the same materials, at the same time around 1842, makes it visually extremely attractive and cohesive. All but one of the properties is leased from Howick estate. The cottages hug the land and were obviously designed to duck the worst of the coastal weather. St Michael and all Angels church is in the grounds of Howick Hall and there was once a small school here too, now a holiday let. The Old Rectory offers very comfortable bed and breakfast accommodation in the centre of the village. The residents highly value their village hall, but there are no retail facilities to bring villagers together in other ways.
There are two historic sites worthy of mention here. One is the Mesolithic settlement which was billed by the BBC to feature Britain’s oldest stone-age hunter-gatherer house, believed to have been occupied for around one hundred years, and it features Bronze Age burials too. The other is the Wreck of the Tadorne, a French steam trawler which foundered at Howick Haven on 29 March 1913. Only the boiler remains to be seen in a falling tide now, and the sailors who lost their lives are buried in Howick churchyard. The geology of this coastline is also remarkable to the extent that Durham and Newcastle University send groups of geology students annually for field work here.
Longhoughton is a Northumbrian coastal village with access by road through Low Steads Farm to St Oswald’s Way, a National Cycle Path and the sea at Howdiemont Beach less than a mile away. The Norman Church was the centre of the village for centuries, where the vicarage was also built along with a small school adjacent to School Green by the gates of Longhoughton Hall. The centre of School Green is currently marked with a sculpture by Gilbert Ward, installed in 2004. The development of the village through time ran north and south from this centre; hence the road names of North End and South End from which small farms once extended east and west. With the building of the housing estates and the current convenience store, the Community and Sports Centre and the RAF Families Centre, the centre of the village has arguably moved a little north for many. There is a popular youth club, community groups and various active sports groups in the village and the Primary School is well regarded and valued (currently Ofsted ‘Good’).
The RAF housing makes the village different from most others and there is a variety of architectural styles which make up the village now. There are the traditional stone built dwellings and barns alongside the twentieth and twenty first century estates. The population also reflects those who have lived here for a very long time, with the relatively recent incomers and the RAF personnel who are more transient. Crime is rare here and there is evidence that some ex-RAF folk retire and settle here such are the attractions of life in a village with such friendly and welcoming people, the beauty of its environment and the local amenities mentioned above. Although Longhoughton has a rural or slightly remote ambiance, it has transport links by bus, by the east coast train line from Alnmouth about three miles away, and by the two international airports at Newcastle and Edinburgh.
Northumbrian people tend to be proud of their county and of their identity in general terms, but the evidence is that the people of Longhoughton overwhelmingly love where they live. For example, there is a large cohort of dog owners who often walk their pets together at various times of the day around the many much valued and plentiful trees and open spaces. They exercise both the dogs and their cultural preference for conversation which is open, warm and grounded, as is the case for the majority of other residents too.
The Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group believes that these are the distinctive qualities of Longhoughton that go to make up what the population value about where they live. The Longhoughton Review of 2018 provided the evidence of the perceived needs and issues which are being taken forward in the writing of a Development Plan, including the need for a strategic plan in light of a lack of investment in infrastructure and community facilities.
Once the Plan is approved the policies will be used to assess the acceptability of each planning application within the Parish.
We will start drafting the policies once the vision and objectives are consulted on.