Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Working Party and of the City of Durham Parish Council Planning Committee, Coun. Roger Cornwell (pictured) welcomed the news.
The City of Durham Parish Council has welcomed news that the Independent Examiner of the Durham City Neighbourhood Plan has given his seal of approval that the Plan, with recommended modifications, will be sound and will therefore be able to progress to Referendum stage.
The plan was initially created by members of Durham City’s Neighbourhood Planning Forum and was taken over by the City of Durham Parish Council following the Council’s creation in May 2018. Since then, the Plan has undergone two rounds of public consultation, where members of the public, businesses and interested parties have been able to have their say on its content.
The Neighbourhood Plan sets down guidance for development within the City of Durham Parish area over the next 15 years. It is a comprehensive Plan which includes policies on Sustainable Development, the Historic Environment, Green Infrastructure, Employment and Town Centres, Housing, Transport, and Community Facilities.
In his report, the Independent Examiner Mr Tony Burton said: “Producing the Durham City Neighbourhood Plan has clearly involved significant effort over many years led by the Neighbourhood Plan Working Party both before and after the creation of City of Durham Parish Council. There has been significant community involvement. There is evidence of collaboration with Durham County Council and this will continue to be important in ensuring delivery of the Plan. The evident commitment of all those who have worked so hard over such a long period of time to prepare the Plan is to be commended and I would like to thank all those at Durham County Council and City of Durham Parish Council who have supported this examination process”.
In his summary of the Plan, Mr Burton said: “I am satisfied the Durham City Neighbourhood Plan meets the Basic Conditions and other requirements subject to the modifications recommended in this report and that it can proceed to a referendum.”
The Examiner has also made it clear that the policies set out in the Neighbourhood Plan can now carry significant weight when considering new planning applications within the Plan area.
Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Working Party and of the City of Durham Parish Council Planning Committee, Coun. Roger Cornwell said: “I am very pleased that the County Council has now issued a Decision Notice saying that the City of Durham Neighbourhood Plan can go forward to a referendum next May. This is a key stage which means that it can now be given “significant weight” in determining planning applications within our Parish. The Plan is the result of six years’ work by a dedicated team of volunteers, first from the Neighbourhood Planning Forum then subsequently by largely the same people working with the Parish Council. The theme of sustainability runs like a golden thread through the Plan, which encompasses six themes including heritage, green spaces, employment, housing and transport. We have tried hard to reflect the hopes and concerns of the people who live and work in the Parish, and these will now be taken into account as planning applications are considered.”
Both the City of Durham Parish Council and the County Council have accepted all of the modifications recommended by the Examiner and it is hoped that the Referendum may take place in May 2021. The Referendum must be delayed until May 2021 in accordance with Government guidelines relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A full copy of the Examiner’s report can be found on the County Council’s website here: