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Have your say on Durham masterplan
A CONTROVERSIAL masterplan aimed at attracting £850m of private sector investment is to be put to the public, after criticism from councillors.
Durham County Council’s Durham City Masterplan was to be debated by its cabinet last month but it was pulled from the agenda at short notice.
At the time, council leader Simon Henig said it had been deferred to allow more consultation with local councillors.
Now, following a series of briefings with councillors, a list of 52 comments and queries has emerged and the council has confirmed consultation will take place with the public.
Liberal Democrat group leader Amanda Hopgood said: “It is very clear that the failure to consult with councillors in advance of the publication of this plan was not a good idea to put it politely.
“If the council wants the buy in of residents on the future development of Durham City it must ensure that the issues we have raised are addressed before the plan goes out for consultation.”
Labour councillor Neil Foster, the cabinet member for economic regeneration, said officers dealing with the masterplan would attend three consultation events: in Durham Town Hall on Tuesday, October 15; Framwellgate Moor community centre on Wednesday, October 23; and St John’s Church, Neville’s Cross, on Tuesday, November 12. Each event runs from 4pm to 8pm.
People can also comment on the masterplan at all County Durham Plan consultation events, via Durham City Area Action Partnership (AAP) or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org Coun Foster added: “A report on the masterplan will be presented to cabinet in the New Year, once the consultation process is complete.”
Among the priorities in the masterplan are improving retail on North Road and Claypath, developing infrastructure including the proposed western and northern bypasses, supporting Durham University’s growth, improving city centre housing and staging world-class cultural events.
Officials believe £130m-worth of public sector support could attract £850m of private sector investment.
However, councillors have questioned the plan’s purpose, focus and accuracy and supposed omissions.
Consultation on the Durham City Masterplan begins on Monday, October 14.
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