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About the Submission Draft MSGP

What MSGP is and why we need it

Every Council in England is required by law to produce a Local Plan (often comprising more than one document) that is used to determine planning applications in their area. It sets out the fundamentals of how land in the area can be used. In Gateshead this set of documents provides a policy framework for the use of land up to 2030. MSGP forms part 3 of the Local Plan, which will set out the policies that planning applications will be assessed against, and also allocates sites for particular types of development.

The Core Strategy and Urban Core Plan (CSUCP)

The CSUCP was prepared jointly with Newcastle City Council and was adopted in March 2015 - in Gateshead it forms parts 1 and 2 of our Local Plan and sets out the strategic policies and the overall strategy for growth for how Gateshead will develop in future, including where new homes will be built and where business development can take place. The CSUCP sets out the overall level of development that will be accommodated in Gateshead by 2030 including:

  • 11,000 new homes(gross) / 8500(net)
  • 8,000 new jobs
  • 102,000sqm office space

The CSUCP sets out strategic housing allocations (Neighbourhood and village growth areas) and employment allocations (South of Follingsby), together with detailed policies and allocations for the Urban Core. The overall requirements for development, and the strategic allocations, as set out in the adopted CSUCP, cannot be influenced through this consultation.

What we are consulting on

This is the second stage of consulting on MSGP - consultation on the Submission Draft plan will take place between 29th October to 9th December 2018.

The plan includes a set of detailed policies, allocations and designations grouped into themes:

Policies in MSGP will help to put into practice the strategy and policies set out in the CSUCP, through the allocation of sites for housing and employment purposes. MSGP will also provide the policies which will be used to make decisions on planning applications, and will therefore be a key point of reference for a range of stakeholders including applicants, developers, businesses, residents and other organisations.

Once adopted MSGP will supersede any policies still in force from the Unitary Development Plan.

What happens after the consultation

All the comments received will be sent to and considered by the Planning Inspector and will be used as a basis for discussing issues at a public examination.

The examination into MSGP will consider whether it meets the tests of 'soundness' and legal compliance as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Can responses be made on a confidential basis?

It is a national requirement of the Local Plan process that comments will only be deemed legitimate (in planning terms this is called "duly made") if they are received in a written format with a name and address supplied. Comments made verbally or anonymously cannot be accepted.

Gateshead Council is obliged to make all comments received (in planning terms these are called "representations") available for public inspection on the Council's website and will be passed onto the Planning Inspectorate. Your comment, name and address will be made publicly available, but we will not publish other personal information, such as telephone numbers or emails.

It is extremely important that these are presented in a way that is most helpful for the Inspector, we are therefore asking that all representations are made using the consultation response form. You should consider whether, the plan complies with the legal requirements, the duty to co-operate, and is sound.

When does the Plan get submitted to Government?

It is anticipated that the Local Plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State for public examination in early 2019.

Is this the last part of the Local Plan?

No, the MetroGreen Area Action Plan will form part 4 of the Local Plan.

Were can I find more detail on the sites being talked about?

A number of supporting documents, including the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment and the Employment Land Review, for example, underpin proposals within MSGP and these include detailed information on specific sites - documents such as these can be found in the MSGP Evidence Library.

Before any of the sites highlighted in the Local Plan are developed, they would go through one or more further processes, including those associated with the submission of a planning application or the granting of Permission in Principle for sites on Part 2 of the Brownfield Register, with consultation carried out on the specific development being proposed.

Have you taken sustainability into account?

A Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment have been undertaken during the preparation of MSGP to consider the social, environmental and economic effects of a plan from the outset and to help ensure that policies, proposals and subsequent decisions all contribute to achieving sustainable development.

Will the carbon footprints change with increased building and transport infrastructure?

The carbon footprint of Gateshead is always changing, but not necessarily negatively. For example, new homes closer to the main employment areas could help to reduce daily commuting distances or make the use of public transport more feasible for many households.

Economic Prosperity

The CSUCP identified the need to create around 8,000 jobs across Gateshead - the Council therefore needs to ensure that we make land available to accommodate employment opportunities. MSGP therefore allocates employment sites to support economic growth.

What is the Council's approach to town centres?

The CSUCP sets out the hierarchy of retail centres in Gateshead covering Gateshead Centre, District and Local Centres, and requirements for proposals on sites not located within a centre.

MSGP also covers policies relating to retail centres, and the importance these centres play in local communities. The policies within MSGP will protect centres and require Impact Assessments for retail and leisure development proposals on sites outside of designated centres, and which are above a threshold of 500sqm. MSGP also defines the extent of centres in the retail hierarchy, as shown on the draft Policies Map.


What is a 5-year land supply?

The Government has outlined in the National Planning Policy Framework that they require local authorities to ensure an appropriate supply of housing. Local authorities like Gateshead Council are expected to annually identify and update a supply of specific deliverable sites that are sufficient to meet five years of demand for new housing.

Why do we need more housing and how many more homes are needed?

Demand for homes is being driven by several factors. For example, Gateshead's population has tended to increase in recent years and the latest predictions from the Office of National Statistics show that this trend is set to continue. At the same time information from the Census shows that on average the number of people living in each household continues to fall (which means that more homes would be needed for the same number of people).

We also know that the type of homes that people want to live in have changed over time. This means that some homes that are being lived in today might well need to be replaced by 2030. National guidance means that we have to take this into account too when estimating demand for homes.

That means that we estimate that between 2010 and 2030 there will be a need for 11,000 new homes (gross) or 8500 (net of demolitions and bringing empty homes back into use).

As set out in the Core Strategy, adopted in 2015, without a sufficient number of new homes being built, many younger people and families will leave Gateshead, leaving a greater proportion of elderly people (whose numbers are increasing because of increased life expectancy). The working age population of Gateshead needs to be retained because of their contribution to supporting local businesses and paying Council Tax to support local services.

In November 2018, the Council will be subject to the Housing Delivery Test where the Government assesses the number of homes which are being delivered in the Borough. If the Government considers that insufficient homes are being delivered then the Council will be required to produce an action plan to set out how delivery can be increased.

What type of housing is needed?

The Core Strategy requires the provision of a Range and Choice of Housing to promote lifetime neighbourhoods with a good range and choice of accommodation, services and facilities to meet varied and changing needs.

An assessment of the current state of the housing market covering both Gateshead and Newcastle has been carried out.

The assessment identified a clear need to provide more homes suitable for older people as a large proportion of population growth in Gateshead up to 2030 is those people 65 years or older. Increased support and adaptation of existing homes to enable those who wish to remain in their homes to do so was also highlighted. The Core Strategy requires developers to increase the choice of suitable accommodation for the elderly population and those with special needs (including the provision of bungalows, sheltered accommodation and extra care accommodation). MSGP includes a proposed policy which requires, on housing developments of 15 or more dwellings, 25% of dwellings, across all types, will be constructed to the general adaptable and accessible standard (M4(2)) or equivalent successor standards.

Affordable housing recommendations were also made in the assessment. A target of 15 per cent of affordable homes is required by the Core Strategy for all new housing developments across Gateshead and Newcastle above a certain size. It also recommended that 65 per cent of affordable homes should be for subsidised rent and 35 per cent for subsidised home ownership.

How will MSGP improve the quality of homes?

The Plan includes a proposed policy that all new homes be built to the Government's Nationally Described Space Standards. This will ensure that homes are built with sufficient internal space to meet modern living requirements.

What would happen if we didn't have a plan to build new homes?

The Local Plan also allows the Council to take into account the needs of existing residents and infrastructure. Existing residents want the right home, in the right place at the right time to meet their needs and help them to thrive. Local schools, shops and services need the security that planned and structured development can provide.

If new homes weren't built in Gateshead, the chances are they would be built elsewhere. If people who work in Gateshead find homes outside the Borough, their commuting journeys, especially by car, will increase pollution, carbon emissions and congestion on our roads. It would also mean that local shops, schools and services would have fewer customers and pupils and be more likely to close down. Public services provided by the Council would suffer too as less money would be available.

What happens if urban sites unexpectedly become available for housing?

It is inevitable that some urban sites will become available, but there is no guarantee that they will all be able to be used for homes. Any development would depend upon the wish of the individual landowner, on planning permissions and on the attractiveness of the site to developers. But if a suitable site becomes available, even if it is not allocated in the Plan, it can still be given permission for housing.

We update our five-year land supply every year to take into account new sites that come forward, and we make allowance for an assumed level of "windfall" sites coming forward each year in the future. Gateshead Council has a strong track record of encouraging urban regeneration, but not all sites are viable for housing in financial terms.

Are the sites you have identified for future development all owned by the Council?

No, many are owned by individuals or private companies.

What are we doing to promote development on brownfield sites?

We're doing everything within our power to support the regeneration of brownfield sites, it's been our priority for decades. About three quarters of the new homes that will be needed by 2030 will be on regenerated brownfield sites.

The Council has a register of Brownfield Land which includes 108 sites which are potentially suitable for housing development. The Council is in the process of granting Permission in Principle on some of these sites which establishes that housing is suitable and the number of homes that can be accommodated. This is to encourage development on these sites.

We've taken a close look at all of the land in Gateshead and some of the sites that had previously been allocated for employment uses have been reallocated for development of homes.

The two biggest regeneration projects in the Core Strategy and Urban Core Plan are a new community in central Gateshead and the MetroGreen development. These alone have the potential to provide thousands of homes in the medium to long term.

  • for more information on MetroGreen please contact Jane Howarth on extension 3499, or by email at
  • for more information on the Exemplar Neighbourhood in central Gateshead please contact Jo Gooding on extension 2695, or by email at

Transport and Accessibility

Have the Council considered how roads in Gateshead will cope with this amount of development?

The demands on transport infrastructure have been investigated through the development of the various strands of the Local Plan process. The impacts of the level of development proposed in the Core Strategy on the road network has been modelled and further more detailed work has been undertaken at some of the larger sites. This points to where growth is likely to cause congestion and what infrastructure would be needed if development takes place. Potential mitigation measures are included in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan, including improvements to walking, cycling, public transport and the road network.

What is the Council doing to reduce congestion?

Through the Plan the Council is seeking to manage congestion by promoting walking, cycling and public transport as alternatives to private car use by locating new development in sustainable locations. This will include investment in measures such as new and improved pedestrian and cycle routes and bus lanes, and promotional measures such as 'Schools Go Smarter'.

In addition, the Council is continually improving the management of the road network, including use of new technology to link traffic signals and provide improved information to travellers. Additionally, there will be targeted highway capacity improvements, including the recent major improvements by Highways England to the A1 in Gateshead.

People and Place

How does the Plan address issues relating to health?

A strategic objective of the plan is to improve the health and wellbeing, and quality of life, for all residents. The Plan has been subject to a health and equalities impact assessment to ensure that policies and proposals have positive outcomes and promote healthy lifestyles. The Plan includes policies which address health related issues directly including MSGP19 (residential amenity), MSGP21 (air quality) and MSGP40 (protecting valuable open space, sports and recreation facilities), for example.

Parts of the area are prone to flooding. Will this be taken into account?

Flood risk is an issue that we have given the utmost priority to when assessing all sites, rural and urban. Any development will be designed to manage the flood risk and not increase the risk of flooding to adjoining areas. Major development will also take advantage of recent advances in sustainable drainage systems to deal with surface water as far as possible on site rather than simply piping it away.

How are we protecting the natural environment?

The Plan includes policies to protect and enhance biodiversity and geodiversity, green infrastructure and landscape quality. Development proposals will have to adhere to these policies to ensure a balance is achieved between economic and housing growth and protection of the natural environment. 

How are we protecting the historic environment?

The Plan includes design and conservation policies to protect and enhance the historic environment. Policies MSGP19/24/25/26/27/28 all seek to protect and enhance our historic environment. Developers and landowners will have to adhere to these policies when developing any site in Gateshead.'

What is the Council's approach to improving/protecting open space?

Parks and open spaces are a key part of any community. Developers will be required to contribute to new open spaces, allotments and recreation spaces, or improvements in existing facilities. Parks and open space provision will be covered in detail by individual planning applications for each of the sites and will be linked to the number of homes proposed in the case of MSGP41 for proposals of new housing development of 10 or more dwellings.

The Plan through MSGP40 sets out the standards by which the Council will consider the protection, improvement or change of use of open space. The application of the standards establishes a balance approach to understanding the value of, and the need for open space sites which consider the quantity, accessibility and quality of open space across Gateshead.

Infrastructure and Delivery

How will existing services and infrastructure cope with more homes?

In accommodating our development needs we need to ensure that local communities are supported by adequate services, facilities and infrastructure including transport , education health, sport and recreation, and so on.

In preparing the Local Plan the Council has worked closely with infrastructure providers (for example education, highways, and so on) to identify the capacity of local infrastructure and what improvements will be required to ensure that the development proposed can take place.

When the larger sites were investigated, access to local services, and how development would impact on them, was a key consideration. In some locations new homes could help support existing facilities with spare capacity. Where new facilities will be needed, developers will be expected to contribute towards the facilities required.

In addition to the provision of site specific infrastructure, Gateshead now has in place a Community Infrastructure Levy to enable us to charge developers and builders so that wider infrastructure needs, including strategic transport infrastructure and schools, for example, can be provided for or improved.

Will new schools be provided?

Where there is a possibility that demand could exceed existing capacity, developers will be required to contribute to the cost of expanding, or even providing, new schools. MSGP makes provision for a new school at Shipcote to replace the existing Gibside School (Policy MSGP43).


Affordable Housing

The definition of affordable housing is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, but has been changed by the Government to include "starter homes" for subsidised owner-occupation. Affordable housing therefore now means starter homes at a discounted price, or subsidised housing for rent and/or sale. This could for example be housing rented from The Gateshead Housing Company or a housing association or it could be a shared ownership home.

Green Belt

The Green Belt is an area of protected land around towns and cities. In Gateshead, almost all the countryside is classed as Green Belt. The purposes of the Green Belt are to: 'keep land open between large built up areas; to stop neighbouring towns merging; to prevent encroachment into the countryside; to preserve the setting of historic towns; and assist in urban regeneration.' The boundaries of the Green Belt are set by local authorities in their local plans. In the case of Gateshead, this was done in the Core Strategy and no further significant amendments to the boundary are proposed by MSGP.

National Planning Policy Framework

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government's planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied. The framework introduced a presumption in favour of sustainable development and requires the plans to reflect this presumption. MSGP will reflect the framework's definition of sustainable development as 'living within the planet's environmental limits, ensuring a strong, healthy and just society; achieving a sustainable economy; promoting good governance; and using sound science responsibly.'

Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development is defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

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