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Housing Needs Supplementary Planning Document consultation

We want your views on the Housing Needs Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which provides guidance on housing matters including housing for older people, students and first time buyers.

A total of 18 responses were received to the initial phase of consultation and we are currently re-drafting the document.  We plan to consult again in Autumn 2023 on the changes to the document following this round of consultation.


The County Durham Plan (CDP) was adopted in October 2020. It provides a framework to assess planning applications for new housing developments. This draft SPD supports a range of policies in the CDP which aim to meet the different housing needs of our residents.

What the SPD includes

  • Accessible homes: It provides further guidance on the implementation of M4(2) Accessible and Adaptable housing and what is required for multi-generational homes (typically a home with a grandparent or other older relative(s) living with their children and potentially also grandchildren). Both of these are part of the CDP approach to meeting the housing needs of older people.
  • Local housing need: It introduces guidance about what should be considered in assessments when determining local area housing needs for affordable or specialist housing in rural areas, as well as how these assessments can support Neighbourhood Plans and Community Led Housing proposals.
  • Purpose built student accommodation: It provides guidance on what should be included in a needs assessment for purpose-built student accommodation. 
  • C Class developments: These cover a range of property types where people stay or live. They include hotels, family homes, homes of multiple occupations, and residential institutions such as care homes, secure hospitals or prisons. The SPD provides guidance on how to apply the Nationally Described Space Standard for different forms of C Class development.
  • First Homes: These are a new form of affordable housing to meet the needs of first time buyers who are unable to afford outright home ownership. The SPD contains a First Homes Interim Policy Statement and includes local eligibility criteria in addition to the national criteria which introduces a lower price cap to ensure that a First Home is genuinely affordable in the County Durham housing market.

Read the SPD and register to comment on it.

Have your say

The closing date for comments was 5.00pm on 11 April 2023.

What happens next

Responses to the consultation will be considered in drafting Housing Needs SPD. We will then consult again in Autumn 2023. Any final amendments to the document will be considered and justified before completion and approval. Once approved, the SPD will be adopted and will be used to assess planning applications.

Contact us
Spatial Policy
03000 263 967