Appendix D: Housing Sites


D.24 The following analysis (Table D2) is drawn from Durham County Council’s latest available SHLAA (Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment) (2013 updated to 2014; Durham County Council, 2014a). When a more up-to-date SHLAA becomes available we will revise these details. It is noteworthy that, throughout Our Neighbourhood, there are student accommodation developments on land that would otherwise be suitable for ‘normal’ residential units e.g. County Hospital, Chapel Heights, Kepier Court, Berendsen’s laundry.

Table D2: Housing sites in Durham County Council SHLAA 2014

Durham County Council’s
Deliverable SHLAA 2014 sites

Housing capacity in SHLAA

Comments in SHLAA 2014

Sites under construction

4/DU/79 Mount Oswald


Under construction

4/DU/128 Former Bus Depot,
Waddington Street


Under construction

Potters Bank


Under construction

4/DU/84 Former Dryburn
Hospital site


Under construction

4/DU/44 Durham Johnston
School Annexe


Under construction



Sites approved but not yet started

4/DU/25 Durham Johnston
School, Whinney Hill


Permitted, not started

4/DU/19 Police Headquarters


Permitted, not started





Note: Some of these developments have now been completed


D.25 We contend that many of the brownfield sites classified in SHLAA 2014 as ‘unachievable’ within 5 years to 2019 should be included in the reckoning for the fourteen year period 2019 to 2033. We continue to challenge the Council’s assertion in paragraph 4.202 of the withdrawn County Local Plan that a full assessment of brownfield sites has been undertaken within SHLAA 2013. The sites included and assessed in SHLAA 2013 were only those put forward by representatives of the County Council, the Home Builders’ Federation, local land agents, planning consultants and a registered social landlord. There appears to have been no input from local community groups or residents’ associations.

D.26 SHLAA 2013 accepted the rejection by house-builder representatives of many brownfield sites apparently without independent assessment of the reasons for rejection. Many of the rejected sites in Durham City are able to accommodate viable housing development schemes, if not within the five years 2014 to 2019 then in the subsequent fourteen years 2019 to 2033.

D.27 Our list of such longer-term achievable sites is as follows in Table D3:

Table D3: Longer-term achievable sites

Additional SHLAA 2013 housing sites
within the built-up area of Durham City
(with SHLAA 2013 rating in brackets)

SHLAA 2013
(no. dwellings)

Our comments

4/DU/56 Kepier House
(amber – unachievable)


In fact it received approval in June 2015 for 35 units

4/DU/131 Former Shell garage, A167
(green – not achievable)


Why not between years 6 and 20?
Especially as it has now been cleared
and is operating as a temporary car park.

4/DU/129 Passport Office, Framwellgate Peth
(amber – not achievable)

Up to 60

This site is now approved for a major
development including a high-quality
residential scheme for 440 units
i.e. 380 more


Up to 103

Plus 380 more i.e. up to 483

D.28 Adding these up to 483 dwellings on longer-term achievable sites to the total of 718 from Table D2 gives a total of sites for 1,201 dwellings within Our Neighbourhood.

D.29 There will, in addition, be ‘windfall’ sites (SHLAA 2014 calculates for the Central Durham Delivery Area an average of 23 per annum, so 437 over 19 years) and also the contribution from sites under 0.4 hectares (SHLAA 2014 estimates for Central Durham an average of 34 per annum, so 646 over 19 years). These together add 1,083 units in the Central Durham Delivery Area over the nineteen year period 2014-2033. Assuming that perhaps a quarter might be in Our Neighbourhood part of Central Durham, these two sources would together provide 270 dwellings over the period. Adding this to the 1,201 dwellings on identified sites summarised in paragraph 21, the total capacity is for 1,471 new dwellings in Our Neighbourhood by the year 2033.

D.30 If further houses become available for the long-term residents of Our Neighbourhood through the release of houses currently occupied by groups of students, this could amount to perhaps 500 over the period.

D.31 Even without the potential release of HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) and without the uncertain sites, we have sites for at least 1,000 new dwellings. This allows plenty of choice for developers. If all these sites are developed to accommodate long-term residents, we could see the resident population of Our Neighbourhood increase by as much as 2,000. This, however, does not balance against the University’s plans to increase the student population by about 6,400 over the next 10 years and the consequent consumption of available development sites by PBSAs and conversion of homes to HMOs.


D.32 The Government published a consultative Housing White Paper ‘Fixing Our Broken Housing Market’ (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2017a) in February 2017 setting out ideas for increasing the production of new housing. That consultation closed just before the General Election in June 2017 and a finalised version has not yet been produced. One of the initiatives in the White Paper is to introduce a standardised approach to assessing housing requirements. Consultations on the proposed standardised methodology were launched in September 2017 (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2017b), accompanied by the resulting rate of house-building for each local planning authority: 1,368 per annum in the case of County Durham. The County Durham Local Plan Issues and Options report of June 2016 envisaged rather higher annual rates for the 17 year period of the Plan up to the year 2033. A total of 23,256 additional dwellings would be required in County Durham under the Government’s proposed standardised methodology, as compared with between 26,061 and 29,189 portrayed in ‘Issues and Options’. At the time of writing (September 2017) Durham County Council’s response to the proposed lower rate has not been determined.

D.33 Specific recognition is given in the September consultation on the proposed standardised methodology to the needs of neighbourhood plan preparation. Normally the local planning authority would provide a figure, derived from the relevant development plan. However, many development plans are out-of-date and of course do not use the proposed standardised methodology. The Government suggests that a simple pro-rata approach should be used: the population in the neighbourhood plan area as a proportion of the population of the whole local planning authority area, and this proportion applied to the total housing requirement. Our Neighbourhood’s population is 4% of the County Durham total, so 4% of 23,256 i.e. 930 new dwellings would be required. However, this approach is inappropriate given that half the population in Our Neighbourhood are University students whose accommodation is in Colleges, PBSAs (purpose built student accommodation) and HMOs (houses in multiple occupancy). The 9,700 non-student population is 1.9% of the County Durham total, and this proportion represents a need for 442 new dwellings by the year 2033

D.34 In housing Policy D1 we identify land for 521 new dwellings, with a further 38 if particular issues can be resolved. This is more than sufficient to meet the requirement established under the Government’s proposed approach.

See also Appendix D: Population and Appendix D: Households

Next section: Appendix E: Table E1: Landscape and Natural Environment Sites in Our Neighbourhood

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