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Design Code Supplementary Planning Document consultation (stage two)

Following on from our initial consultation in the spring of this year, we want your views on the amended County Durham Design Code Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which sets out guidance to ensure development is well designed and fits with its surroundings.

Thank you to all who responded to the consultation on the second draft of this document, which took place late 2023. Feedback will be considered as part of the drafting of the final version of the document, which will be adopted in spring 2024.


The County Durham Plan (CDP) was adopted in October 2020. It provides a framework for new housing developments and helps to assess planning applications up to 2035. This draft SPD supports a range of policies in the CDP.

What the SPD includes

The draft SPD sets guidance to make sure new developments are well designed and well suited to their surrounding area. This helps to make sure they reflect the place they are being built in, such as its history and character. The document focuses on residential development but will apply to most scales and types of development.

The SPD will be supported by Settlement Character Studies as they are developed, and an example is included in the SPD document. They provide evidence for understanding the history and essential character of our settlements. This also fulfils a requirement to prepare a design guide code as required in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  

Second stage consultation

The first draft of the SPD was consulted on from 24 February to 11 April 2023. We got 16 replies to the first round of consultation, and the following changes made:

  • The introduction has been redrafted to confirm how the document is intended to be used and how it fits with other policy documents.
  • A Vision has been added to clarify what we understand by good design and what the document aims to achieve.
  • New diagrams have been added to the introduction to provide a visual guide as to how the Design Code SPD will work alongside other guidance; our design review process and to help identify the key characteristics of good design.
  • A map of county has been added to provide useful context.
  • The list of Settlement Character Studies has been updated as two settlements were not listed.
  • The introduction to the model code section has been updated to give clearer description on how it is intended to work.
  • A number of minor detailed updates have been made to the model code to make it more consistent and to provide flexibility.


Objective - County Durham Design Code SPD

Have your say

The closing date for comments was 5.00pm on 3 December 2023.

What happens next

Responses to the consultation will be considered in the second drafting of the Design Code SPD. We will then consult again next year on the final draft. 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.

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