Objection to County Hall Proposal

The Forum has submitted an objection to the proposal to build a new County Hall and multi-storey carpark on the Sands. The issues that form the basis of this objection are:

  • increased traffic causing congestion
  • increased air pollution
  • concerns over pedestrian safety
  • adverse effects on tourism
  • flood risk
  • lack of consideration of possible alternative locations in the City and elsewhere in the County, and a lack of a full sustainability assessment of these alternatives

The full objection is available: Durham_City_NPF_objection_DM-18-02369-FPA


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Forum Response to Preferred Options

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commends the County Council for the quality of the document and on making major improvements to many policies of the Withdrawn County Durham Local Plan.


The DCC’s Preferred Options document can be found here.

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Response to Milburngate House site changes

The Durham City Neighbourhood Planing Forum has recently responded to a pre-application consultation letter from DPP. Office-Development-Milburngate-House-NPF-180614

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.

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Response to Consultation on Mountjoy and Church St

The Neighbourhood Planning Forum has sent responses to Durham University on their proposals for Mountjoy (ResponseUniversityConsultationNPF) and to Durham County Council on their suggestions for related changes to Church Street (ProposalForChurchStreetNPFResponse).

The University’s plans for Mountjoy presented in a public consultation at the end of April covered:

  1. the new Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science Building, Upper Mountjoy
  2. Hollingside Lane improvements, Upper Mountjoy
  3. South Road Improvements

The Council’s suggestions for Church Street covered pavement widening and reduction in parking spaces.

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Sidegate House Appeal

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
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City of Durham Parish elections

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).

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The AGM of the Durham City Neighbourhood Planning Forum will be held on Wednesday 21 March 2018, at 6.00 pm, in St Nicholas’ Lower Hall, Market Place, Durham City


  1.  Chair’s welcome and introductory remarks
  2.  Apologies for absence
  3.  Chair’s Annual Report 2017-18
  4.  Treasurer’s Annual Report 2017-18
  5. Questions to Officers
  6. Election of Officers 2018-19 Nominations received:
    1. Chair – Roger Cornwell
    2. Vice Chair – John Ashby
    3. Treasurer – Sue Childs
    4. Secretary – John Lowe
    5. Engagement Officer – Pippa Bell
  7. Update on the Draft Neighbourhood Plan
  8. Any Other Business (to be received by deadline of 15 March)

The AGM will be followed by a monthly wrap up session of the Forum.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the AGM and wrap up session to observe.

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Categorising Responses

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.


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Maiden Castle

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.






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Forum Meetings

The Durham City Neighbourhood Planning Forum will be holding regular meetings as follows:

Weekly business meetings:

  • Every Tuesday, 9am, These will finish at 9.30am at the latest to be followed by a Working Group meeting

Monthly wrap up meetings:

  • Thursday 22 February, 6.00 – 7.00 pm
  • Wednesday 21 March, 6.00 – 7.00 pm
  • Thursday 19 April, 6.00 – 7.00 pm

These meetings will be held at the Miners Hall, Redhills, Durham City.

Forum meetings are open to the public. Working Group meetings are for Forum members only.

Minutes of the Forum and Working Group meetings are available.

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