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Trees, Woodland and Hedges Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) consultation (stage two)


Following on from our initial consultation in the spring of this year, we now want your views on the amended draft document which sets out guidance to ensure trees, woodlands and hedges are fully considered as part of the planning process.

Thank you for your responses to the second stage of the consultation. Responses to the consultation have been considered in the draft of the final document. Any final amendments to the document will be considered and justified before completion and approval. The next stage for the SPD is adoption in spring 2024. Once adopted, the SPD will be used to assess planning applications.

Background

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 the CDP by explaining how we will deal with planning applications that affect trees, woodlands and hedges.

What the SPD includes

The SPD includes guidance on:

  • trees, woodlands and hedges in County Durham
  • protecting trees and hedges through the development process
  • tree surveys and Arboricultural Impact Assessments
  • integrating existing features into new development
  • planting, maintaining and managing trees, woodlands and hedges
  • Tree Preservation Orders and trees in Conservation Areas

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 have been made:

  • Clarification on the County Durham Landscape Strategy and the objectives for field boundaries, which are formed by historic hedgerows and walls.
  • Further background information on how this SPD links with Neighbourhood Plans, the County Durham Design Code SPD and other corporate strategies.
  • Landscape character guidance has been referenced to provide useful information.
  • Minor detailed updates on the planning application process covering the required tree and hedgerow assessments and Arboricultural Impact Assessments.
  • Clarification on Ancient Woodland 15m buffer zones and where this buffer zone starts.
  • Detail on the design principles and examples of active development frontages, which focuses on the space outside of buildings and the building interior, particularly entrances, for woodland and ancient woodland.
  • The inclusion of Durham specific pictures to add greater context to the SPD.
  • Detail on tree planting in soft and hard landscapes with reference to root requirements and drainage functions.
  • A new detailed section on the National Design Code with relevant guidance on the design, layout and benefits of street trees.

The SPD

Objective - Trees, Woodland and Hedges Supplementary Planning Document (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 draft of the Trees, Woodland and Hedges SPD. We will then consult again in Spring 2024. 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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Spatial Policy
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