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County Durham Plan examination in public - inspector's report update

The County Durham Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for examination in public on 28 June 2019.


The Planning Inspector's examination in public is complete - he has issued his final report within which he has set out a number of main modifications he considers are necessary to make the County Durham Plan sound. The final report has had regard to all the consultation comments received to the consultation which ran from Tuesday 26 May 2020 to Tuesday 21 July 2020 as outlined below. The Inspector's Report is available on the Examination latest news area area of the planning consultation portal.

You can find more information about the various stages of consultation which have already taken place on our what's happened so far page.

Main Modifications consultation

An eight week consultation was held, in which comments were invited on the proposed Main Modifications to the County Durham Plan and the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment. The documents are available below:

See our  Icon for pdf Main Modifications FAQs (PDF, 79.0kb)  for more information about the consultation.

The Consultation has now closed - see Planning consultation portal - County Durham Plan full representations received.

Summary of Main Modifications

In the Inspector's final report advice, he set out several main modifications he considered necessary to make the Plan sound. These were:

  • the Northern and Western relief roads should be removed from the Plan
  • the corridor of interest for a possible future Barnard Castle relief road should be removed from the Plan

The Inspector considers that there are 178 changes needed to make the Plan sound and effective, but most are relatively focussed or just ensure the policies are aligned with national policy. Some of the more significant main modifications proposed include:

  • the approach to development on unallocated sites has been made much more flexible than originally set out in the Plan - this is to provide flexibility in case other sites do not come forward and will ensure we meet our housing needs
  • older persons housing which is increasing the proportion of accessible and adaptable homes from 10% to 66% on future developments
  • amendments to the Aykley Heads proposals to remove reference to ancillary uses (such as hotels) and the reference to the future development of the police playing fields and to limit car parking existing levels

Have your say

This consultation is now closed.

What we did to ensure that the current restrictions in place for the coronavirus pandemic did not adversely affect the consultation process

We proceeded with the consultation in line with government guidance encouraging local authorities to do so, as local plans will be important frameworks to aid economic recovery efforts.

We took steps to ensure the consultation was as accessible as possible, given the exceptional circumstance which the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has presented us with, and the planning inspector has approved these. 

These included running the consultation over eight weeks rather than six as well as a number of other enhancements to the Statement of Community Involvement.

Next steps

The Plan will be put before our Cabinet and then Full Council for adoption as soon as practicable. Finally the decision is then subject to a six week judicial review.

About the examination in public

An independent examination of the County Durham Plan is being conducted by the Planning Inspectorate. This is a continuous process running from the date of submission (28 June 2019) through to the receipt of the appointed Planning Inspector's Report. Part of this process has involved hearing sessions where those who are seeking a change to the Plan have had the right to be heard.

William Fieldhouse BA(Hons) MA MRTPI was appointed to conduct the examination to determine whether the Local Plan is sound.

Annette Feeney is the appointed Programme Officer. Annette is not an employee of the council and is assisting the Planning Inspector through the examination. She is responsible for all procedural matters of the examination and any correspondence regarding the examination is via her. The contact details for the Programme Officer are:
Address: Programme Officer, Durham County Council, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL
Telephone: 0777 577 1026

Full details about the examination are contained within the Icon for pdf County Durham Plan: Notice of Submission Statement (PDF, 111.2kb) .

The CDP: examination library  provides access to all supporting evidence and documentation relating to the Local Plan.  All updates about the examination process, including the timetable and available information will be made available via this page.

For regular updates, please also see the Examination latest news area of the planning consultation portal.

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