The final stage of a plan that sets out how much development and where it is needed in County Durham will go before councillors next week.
Durham County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to recommend that full council approve the submission of the County Durham Plan when it meets on Wednesday, June 12. If agreed for approval the plan would go to full council before being submitted to the Secretary of State ahead of an Examination in Public by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate later in the year.
The County Durham Plan sets out a range of development proposals as well as planning policies for the county until 2035. These will cover housing, businesses and jobs, protection of the historic and natural environment and how infrastructure will come forward to support development, such as major transport links, new or expanded schools and healthcare provision and community facilities.
The plan reflects and builds on many of the comments that have been received over an extensive consultation process that began back in 2016.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “The County Durham Plan will ensure the county continues to thrive as a great place to live, work and visit for generations to come. The plan builds on the success of the county in attracting significant jobs and business to the area creating the environment in which business can thrive. It also ensures we build the right houses in the right places to meet the needs of our communities. Balancing the needs of new development whilst protecting and indeed enhancing our environment is a difficult balance but one which the plan embraces and has a central theme.
“During our extensive consultation we received almost 3,000 comments on the plan, which we considered carefully and will send to the Planning Inspectorate as part of the submission. We would like to send out our thanks to every resident, business and community that took the time to contribute and help shape the future of our county.”
At the moment there is already over £3.4 billion pounds worth of planned investment across the county, including the significant development at sites such as Integra61 in Bowburn, and the new Aykley Heads business park in Durham City.
Building on this and to further support the county’s economic growth the plan aims to create more and better jobs for residents, with over 302 hectares of new land allocated to be developed specifically for business and industry.
The plan also shows the proposed locations of the 5,390 new homes across the county needed to meet the Government estimate of 24,852 by 2035. New homes will be located in places which capitalise on the investment happening around the county as well as reduce the need to travel.
Measures would be introduced as part of the plan to ensure that a wide range of quality homes are built to meet the needs of residents. This would see a requirement that 10 per cent of all homes on developments would have to be designed for older people to better support an aging population. Between 10 and 25 per cent would also have to be affordable homes, depending on the location. New housing would come alongside the council’s ongoing measures to bring empty homes back into use across the county.
The plan includes policies relating to the protection of over 250,000 hectares of County Durham’s natural environment including important landscapes, wildlife areas, open spaces, woods and parklands to ensure that they cannot be used for development.
It will also make sure that new developments in and around our historic towns and villages complement both the history and heritage of existing buildings as well as the natural landscape.
To find out more about the County Durham Plan visit http://www.durham.gov.uk/cdp