The County Local Plan
What is Durham County Council’s Plan for the Green Belt?
The County Council's submitted County Durham Local Plan proposed the building of 4,000 houses and two relief roads in the Green Belt. The Plan used high forecasts of population, housing and traffic growth for the County and allocated land in the Green Belt to accommodate this high growth.
That submitted Plan was withdrawn following a legal review. The County Council then embarked on drawing up a new Plan, in three main stages, originally with the intention of submitting the new County Durham Local Plan by December 2017.
The first stage was called Issues and Options, and public consultations were held in the summer of 2016. Some of the Options put forward by the County Council involved loss of Green Belt but others did not.
The next stage was the "Preferred Options" consultation ending 3rd August 2018. This set out the chosen 'direction of travel' towards the policies to be adopted for the future development of County Durham.
Then in January 2019 we had the Pre-Submission Draft County Plan - not a lot changed! All relevant previous comments had to be made afresh, plus any new ones,in order to ensure they got to the Independent Inspector whose job it is to rule whether the Plan is 'Sound' i.e. legally compliant and in line with the National Planning Policy Framework and Guidance.
His Examination of the Plan ran from October 2019 to February 2020. Now, on 17 September 2020, he has issued his Final Report saying that, with the many Modifications he sets out, the Plan will be Sound. All that is left is for the County Council to agree to all his Modifications and formally Adopt the Plan as Modified. We will then at last have an up-to-date Plan for County Durham, statutorily determining what to develop and what to protect. It has been a long haul!