Theme 6: A City With an Enriched Community Life

4.6.1 Vision and Objectives



Promoting a proactively supported community life, including health and well-being, with an enriched artistic and cultural life for the benefit of residents and visitors alike. Residents will be supported and encouraged to be active citizens with a keen interest in their neighbourhood and how it develops.



  1. To encourage and promote the provision of a range of the highest quality health, educational, artistic, cultural, social and general community facilities to meet the needs of the residents of Our Neighbourhood and visitors to it;
  2. To retain and improve existing artistic, cultural, social and community facilities, including open spaces, within Our Neighbourhood;
  3. To improve the built environment in order to increase community participation in generating and experiencing the arts;
  4. To ensure that residents and visitors can access information about the City in an accessible, central location.

4.6.2 Context

4.214 Details of the social profile of Our Neighbourhood is available in Section D1 of Appendix D. Appendix E, Table E3, provides details of public and community services and facilities in Our Neighbourhood. Cultural activities and facilities

4.215 Durham City has a strong cultural identity. The City is rich with cultural activities such as the annual International Brass Festival, the Durham Miners’ Gala, the Book Festival, Durham Streets Summer Festival, the Folk weekend and the biannual Lumiere light festival. In terms of infrastructure the City has one large, two small theatres and an open air stage in Wharton Park. It has a cinema, (soon to be three), small gallery spaces in different locations across the City, and a small number of art and crafts courses in local community association buildings. Residents and visitors have access to some University facilities, such as The Oriental Museum, Palace Green Library, and The Wolfson Gallery. The Cathedral is used on a frequent basis throughout the year for cultural events and now offers the new Open Treasure Gallery as well as the World Heritage Site visitors centre.

4.216 There are many visual artists creating ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video and filmmaking. Most work from home. A small number have studio space (e.g. in Fowlers Yard) but most have no ongoing commercial outlet. There also many residents and visitors who take great interest in experiencing the range of visual arts. Health and social care facilities

GP Practices:

4.217 There is currently only the Claypath surgery in Our Neighbourhood available to permanent residents. Most of the students are registered with the University Health Service, which is part of the Claypath and University Medical Group and has separate premises in Green Lane. With the University planning to expand student numbers by 5,700 over the next ten years it seems reasonable to infer that some expansion of the University Health Service will be necessary.

4.218 There is the possibility, outside Our Neighbourhood, of large housing developments on what is now Green Belt land. Were this to happen then surgeries might alter their catchment areas to accommodate these new residents, and exclude Our Neighbourhood or parts of it. However, all surgeries in and around Durham City are accepting new patients.

4.219 There is an urgent care centre (previously known as a GP out-of-hours centre) at the University Hospital of North Durham This is close to the A&E department.


4.220 As opposed to GPs, most of the dentists in the wider Durham area are in Our Neighbourhood, so it is reasonable to infer that they draw their clients from further afield. While not all dentists accept NHS patients, and of those that do several do not take all classes of patient, there are practices in Our Neighbourhood that are accepting all classes of NHS patients. There is anecdotal evidence that many dental surgeries are on upper floors and only accessible via stairs.


4.221 The University Hospital of North Durham is an NHS hospital situated towards the north of the Our Neighbourhood. It was opened in 2001 as a replacement for Dryburn Hospital. There are no private hospitals in Durham City.

4.222 The University Hospital of North Durham handles emergency trauma surgery and other major surgery and hosts specialist services in dermatology and plastic surgery, as well as treating patients from Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead. The hospital has an A&E department that is not large enough to meet current demand. There are 22 wards (including maternity and neonatal), four outpatients, and a number of other services. However patients may be treated at other local hospitals if they specialise in their condition, and similarly patients may come to The University Hospital of North Durham for its specialist services.

4.223 The County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust also provides community-based services (some covering mental health) as well as the hospital services noted above. Mental health services are also provided by the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust whose main County Durham site is Lanchester Road Hospital just outside Our Neighbourhood.

4.224 The NHS is producing Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) which will result in a massive reorganisation and contraction of health services. North Durham, including Durham City, lies within the Northumberland, Tyne, Wear and North Durham STP Footprint. The effect this will have on health care services within Our Neighbourhood, and accessibility to services outside Our Neighbourhood, is currently unknown.

Nursing homes and residential care homes:

4.225 Statistics obtained from the website of the Care Quality Commission show that there are three nursing homes in Our Neighbourhood with a combined capacity of 207 people. There are no residential care homes, but in the nearby Newton Hall and Framwellgate Moor there are three care homes which can cater for 133 people.

4.6.3 Justification

4.226 This justification refers to the Community theme as a whole. Additional, specific justification for each community policy is given with the policy itself.

4.227 The Sustainable Communities Strategy for County Durham 2014-2030 (County Durham Partnership, 2014) has two aims for County Durham: (i) An altogether better place, (ii) Altogether better for people. There are five priority themes and high level objectives. The ones relevant to this theme are:

  • Altogether better for children and young people – Children and young people realise and maximise their potential; Children and young people make healthy choices and have the best start in life; A Think Family approach is embedded in the Council’s support for families
  • Altogether healthier – Children and young people make healthy choices and have the best start in life; Reduce health inequalities and early deaths; Improve quality of life, independence and care and support for people with long term conditions; Improve mental and physical wellbeing of the population; Protect vulnerable people from harm; Support people to die in the place of their choice with care and support they need
  • Altogether safer – Reduce anti-social behaviour; Protect vulnerable people from harm; Reduce re-offending; Alcohol and substance misuse harm reduction; Embed the Think Family approach; Counter terrorism and prevention of violent extremism; Reduce road casualties.

4.228 The Durham City Regeneration Masterplan (Durham County Council, 2014c) has a number of implementation projects and actions for Our Neighbourhood (a subset of the Durham City area covered by the Masterplan). Ones relevant to this theme are: Ensuring services are in place including schools, health, and security.

4.6.4 Planning Policies and Proposals for Land Use


Next section: Policy C1: Community Arts Facilities

2 Responses to Theme 6: A City With an Enriched Community Life

  1. Peter Morgan says:

    I fully support these policies.

  2. Lucy says:

    I support these policies. Please include the protection and provision of more public toilets in Policy C3 and C6.