The City of Durham Parish Council have submitted a proposal to amend the Durham City Neighbourhood Area boundary, in accordance with the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2017 and the Localism Act 2011. A copy of the proposal can be seen here.
The amendment is being sought to ensure the neighbourhood plan area aligns with the new parish boundary. An area to the north west near Aykley Heads is being removed from the currently designated neighbourhood area, while additional land in Gilesgate to the east of the proposed neighbourhood area is being included. A map of the changes can be viewed here: Boundary Changes Map
This covering note forms part of the response from the the Durham City Neighbourhood Planning Forum.
The Forum is the approved body for preparing a neighbourhood plan for the designated area within Durham City. At the time of designation this was a non-parished area. However, in May 2018 a Parish Council for the same area came into existence and will determine its response to Preferred Options. The comments made by the Forum are separate from and without prejudice to any comments that the City of Durham Parish Council may submit. The Forum welcomes the release of Preferred Options in marking a major step forward in having a County Durham Local Plan. We believe that is essential to have the right development plan in place as soon as possible in order to provide positive guidance for balanced and sustainable development throughout County Durham. Durham City has particular pressures and issues which the Neighbourhood Plan intends to address within the broad principles of the County Durham Local Plan. Our comments on Preferred Options, which we have made via the interactive website, are confined to comparisons with the draft Neighbourhood Plan policies and do not try to cover matters beyond our Neighbourhood Plan boundary. For the avoidance of misunderstanding, it must be made clear that our silence on such matters does not carry approval or disapproval.
The Durham City Neighbourhood Planning Forum commends the County Council for the quality of the document and on making major improvements to many policies of the Withdrawn County Durham Local Plan.
This refers to a change to their original plan for the Milburngate House site, with a sixth office block being proposed replacing a whole block of residential apartments. A previous change has been the introduction of a hotel.
The Forum is concerned that the incremental changes now being proposed invalidate the original aims of the development at a site that is, because of its size and sensitive location, the most important development site in the City.
The Forum has sent in a response against the Sidegate House appeal proposals. We support the reasons given by Durham County Council in their refusal letter, and make additional points in this document:
These points cover:
Whether the proposal is inappropriate development in the Green Belt
Whether the proposal would harm the openness of the Green Belt
Whether there are any very special circumstances if the development is considered to be inappropriate in Green Belt terms
Whether here are any other material considerations
Whether the proposal is contrary to Part 9 of the NPPF and to Local Plan Policy E1
The election for the new City of Durham Parish Council will take place on Thursday 3 May 2018. Durham County Council has produced a leaflet to help raise awareness of the new council and it’s election. (Please find attached 43306 RES city of durham parish elections leaflet).
The Durham City Neighbourhood Planning Forum is working through all the responses to the pre-submission consultation on the draft Neighbourhood Plan. The Forum is categorising the responses and identifying those which raise a planning issue or action that needs to be considered further. These can be seen here.
The categorisation of responses to ‘Theme 4: A City with attractive and affordable places to live’ is now available.
Roger Cornwell, the Chair of the Neighbourhood Planning Forum, spoke at the County Planning Committee on Tuesday 6th February. He was speaking against the University’s proposal to extend sporting facilities at Maiden Castle (DM/17/01929/FPA). His presentation is available: Maiden Castle Committee address
The County Planning Committee approved the University’s application for Maiden Castle. As it is large and in the Green Belt, it has to go off to the government to see whether it should be called in, i.e. go to an Inspector.