The Society is seeking to secure the long term future of two established footpaths in Hexham centre. Since this summer, these two paths have been obstructed in different ways. 

One of the footpaths runs through Bank Head where the historic “Old Grammar School” (founded under a 1599 charter of Elizabeth I) is sited. The eastern end of this footpath is now often obstructed by the padlocking of the long- standing  double gates which separate the east end of Bank Head from Hallgate. 

The other footpath runs through the car park area to the north of Prospect House. This provided pedestrian access to an elevated viewing point above Hallstile Bank on the north west edge of the car park. From this elevated position there are panoramic views over the Tyne Valley and beyond. It is this panoramic view, the “prospect”, after which the house is named. This path is now fully obstructed by high metal fencing placed along the southern edge of the car park since it became surplus to Northumberland County Council requirements and was apparently sold on. 

General location of the two historic footpath routes

General location of the two historic footpath routes

If these two footpaths are to be restored to their previous “always accessible” status, sufficient evidence from local people of their previous use of these paths is a fundamental requirement if they are to be legally established as a protected right of way. At this stage, we would wish you to contact the Society if you have used either or both of these footpaths together with a brief summary of your level of usage, notably, for how many years you have used one or both of them and how often per year you have used one or both . Once it is judged that there is a sufficient level of previous path usage to support a legal claim for these rights of way, we will be in touch with you again about the next and final step, the completion of what is known as  a “User Evidence Form”. At this stage the Society may well organize a meeting for those who have contacted us to circulate, explain and answer any questions on the User Evidence Forms and any other questions. 

Your contact on this issue is Richard Simons – Tel: 01434 606034


Hexham Market Place – Regeneration Drop in Event Thursday 22nd September 15:00-20:00 Trinity Methodist Church

mkt-pl-bHexham Town Council & Northumberland County Council have asked sustainable transport charity Sustrans to develop some possible options for the regeneration of Hexham Market Place.

Sustrans works with local people to design unique, memorable places that are responsive to their needs. Sustrans wants to know what you think about Hexham Market Place and what you’d like to see.

They would like to invite you to contribute to the design process:

Public Meeting (drop-in)

Thursday 22nd September

Trinity Methodist Church, Beaumont St, Hexham NE46 3LS

3pm – 8pm

If you can’t make the event there is a website for you to leave your ideas and comments on:


Hexham Civic Society supports this initiative and encourages as many members as possible to make their views known.

Heritage Open Days – 8th – 11th Sept

From 8-11 September 2016, thousands of volunteers across the country invite you to experience local history, architecture and culture. All for free.

Hexham is no exception and Hexham Civic Society has teamed up with Hexham Abbey and Building Archaeologist  Peter Ryder (who spoke at our AGM in June) to open up a tour of the Secrets of The Abbey House. Information on the Abbey House tour and how to book is here.

Other secrets to be seen in Hexham as part of this set of events include a walking tour to the House of Correction; Core Music; the Abbey Bell Tower; the Forum Cinema Projector Room and Treasures of Hexham Abbey. Information on the wider area’s Heritage Open Day events is here.


As members may have read about in the press, sustainable transport charity Sustrans have been commissioned to explore views on the Market Place. As many will recall, Hexham Civic Society has long-pressed for the area to be made more of and we welcome this news.

The Hexham Courant reported that  “A public consultation is now under way to collect the views of residents, businesses, market traders and shoppers on how to make the historic heart of the town more attractive and user-friendly.

Supported by funding from Northumberland County Council’s Local Transport Plan, Hexham Town Council invited local businesses to tender for the consultation and design stages of the project.

Three bids were forthcoming and sustainable transport charity Sustrans, which specialises in working with communities to develop designs for change, was appointed.

Since then, Sustrans representatives have made regular appearances at Hexham’s Tuesday market, armed with maps and display boards which encourage people to share their thoughts.

Mayor of Hexham, Coun. Trevor Cessford explained to a meeting of Hexham Town Council on Monday that an interactive website was also up and running to collect comments online.

“The website is called a Sticky World site and allows you to actually target parts of the Market Place and put a sticky note on it with your comments,” said Coun. Cessford.

“All the information received will be put together to help inform us on what people want.

“We’re making this whole process open, honest and transparent.”

Deputy Mayor, Coun. Tom Gillanders, said: “Sustrans are also well aware that the days they have been in the Market Place fall within the school holidays and a lot of people may not be here. But they are looking at this as the first tranche of consultation, if you like, and they are planning more dates once the schools are back.”

The meeting heard that Sustrans would be in the Market Place next Saturday, August 13, and that a public meeting would be held once designs were drawn up.

“Our approach is inclusive and focuses on engagement and consultation,” said Kieran McSherry, design manager at Sustrans North East.

“We would encourage people to engage in our ‘co-design’ process.”

Go to to add your comments online.

Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy:
Pre-Submission Draft – Proposed Major Modifications Consultation

This is your VERY LAST CHANCE to comment on the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy – in particular its proposed deletion of much of the Green Belt around Hexham and the release of land at Shaw’s Park for 600+ houses. Hexham Civic Society has objected to the proposed modifications. We believe that the population projection figures for Northumberland are way in excess of the projections produced by the Office of National Statistics. We do not believe in housing-led growth and believe that brownfield sites should be prioritised before green field or green belt sites are even considered for release. The Core Strategy is the County Council’s main strategic planning document for Northumberland, covering the period to 2031.

Protect Hexham Green Belt Group has also submitted its petition with in excess of 1,000 signatures, questioning the basis of these figures and the Council’s proposals.

If you have a view, you MUST make it know to NCC by 4pm on Wednesday 27th July.

All consultation documents and the evidence base for the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy Pre Submission Draft – Proposed Major Modifications are available to view on the Council’s website at

Comments on the Proposed Major Modifications should be submitted to NCC using the ‘Representation Form’ and must be received by 4pm on Wednesday 27th July 2016.

Copies of the representation form and guidance note to help you make a representation are available to download from the Councils’ website at

The preference is for representations to be made online, via the Council’s website, at  If you have commented before, please use your existing registration details (see above). The Council will also accept comments, using the representation forms, via email to or by post.

The consultation document can be viewed via the link below:

Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy Pre-Submission Draft – Schedule of Proposed Major Modifications (live from 15 June 2016).

Thursday 7th July – 14:00 – 19:00, Queen’s Hall – NCC is holding a drop in session re the proposed 900 houses for Hexham contained in the revised draft Core Strategy. These will predominantly be located on current Green Belt land at Shaws farm, opposite Hexham Cemetery. Hexham Civic Society opposes the deletion of the Green Belt and calls on NCC to revise its projected housing targets to realistic levels. We ask that brownfield sites be prioritised before green field and green belt land is even considered for development.
Major modifications consultation – 15 June 2016 to 27 July 2016
Major modifications to a number of the policies and the supporting text in the emerging Core Strategy are proposed before it is submitted for independent examination to address a range of issues raised during the consultation on the pre-submission draft in 2015.

Consultation on these major modifications to the pre-submission draft of the core strategy starts on 15 June 2016 and ends at 4pm on 27 July 2016.

To find out more about this consultation and view the consultation document click on the links below:

Accompanying documents
The consultation document is accompanied by the following documents to help to set the context for the proposed major modifications.

  • A schedule of minor modifications: these are changes that are considered to be not significant in nature and not affecting the policy framework of the plan or its interpretation. Click here to view this document.
  • A version of the pre-submission draft Core Strategy showing both the major modifications and the minor modifications in context. Click here to view this document.

These are provided for information only and comments on these are not being invited nor will they be accepted.

Drop-in sessions
Due to the level of modifications proposed in the consultation document for Hexham, there will be drop-in sessions in these towns on the following days and times:

  • Hexham – Thursday 7 July 2016, 2pm to 7pm at Queen’s Hall, Beaumont Street, Hexham, NE46 3LS.

AGM Poster.qxdHexham Civic Society AGM is this Tuesday, 5th July, 19:00 at the Great Hall, Hexham Abbey, followed at 19:45 by our guest speaker Mr Peter F Ryder

“Sir Reynold’s Privy Purposes: discoveries in Hexham Abbey House 2013-2014”

a talk by Peter F Ryder

The event is free to Hexham Civic Society members or just £2 to non members. Complimentary tea, coffee and wine will be available. Attendance at the AGM is not compulsory!

Please attend if you are able and circulate this email if you wish.