County plan must be withdrawn - Durham green campaign

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Friends' Case for Withdrawal The Friends' Case for Withdrawal

THE COUNTY Durham Plan is based on unrealistic figures and must be withdrawn now to prevent any further waste of public money, green campaigners claim today (Friday, December 6).

Ahead of consultation on Durham County Council’s flagship development plan closing on Monday (December 9), the Friends of Durham Green Belt has published an Objection and Case for Withdrawal – urging council chiefs to ditch the CDP before it goes to a public examination before a planning inspector next summer.

The CDP proposes 5,200 new homes for Durham City by 2030, of which 4,000 would be on greenbelt land, along with two new bypasses costing tens of millions of pounds and a world-class business hub at Aykley Heads.

Council bosses say it represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reverse the county’s longstanding economic decline, creating 30,000 new jobs by 2030.

But Kirsty Thomas, from the Friends, said: “We cannot accept proposals for housing and new roads in the greenbelt based on unrealistic and inflated population and housing forecasts.

“We have largely been ignored in offering a more moderate growth alternative which we think is more realistic for an historic city with a World Heritage Site and where the benefits of growth would be spread more fairly around the county.”

Mrs Thomas added: “We hope that the (planning) inspector will share our view that it will be a waste of public money to hold the inquiry with such fundamental objections unresolved and require the council to submit the plan after it has genuinely examined alternatives to its growth strategy for Durham City.”

The Friends argue up to 2,200 new homes should be built around Durham City, all on brownfield sites.

They say the CDP fails to prove the ‘very special circumstances’ needed to build on greenbelt and fails to identify a new ‘strategic site’ for student accommodation.

Stuart Timmiss, the council’s head of planning and assets, said: “As the consultation has not yet closed, it would not be appropriate for us to comment on individual responses.

“We will be providing feedback, as we have done at every stage of this very important process, once we have collated and reviewed all of the comments submitted.”

To comment on the CDP, email: cdpconsultation@durham.gov.uk

The Friends’ document can be viewed at durhamgreenbelt.org.uk

Meanwhile, consultation on the council’s Durham City Masterplan closes today (Friday). For more information, visit durham.gov.uk

Comments (3)

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3:30pm Fri 6 Dec 13

settheworldonfire says...

It will be a done deal already....Backhande
rs paid out by the developers....
Councilors with bulging back pockets....When this happens i hope you all say ...yes...you were right....
It will be a done deal already....Backhande rs paid out by the developers.... Councilors with bulging back pockets....When this happens i hope you all say ...yes...you were right.... settheworldonfire

8:22pm Fri 6 Dec 13

peter laidler says...

I wholeheartedly support any attempts to thwart the outrageous proposals of Durham County Council. I have constantly commented to the good folk of this county that I was fortunate to be at a meeting addressed by Dr Jonathon Poritt who had serious reservations about the affects on our beautiful city and its environs, if the County Council had its way. He had viewed the proposals and was appalled. While I am not against progress and have a vested interest in assuring the county has a future to offer up and coming generations, it should not be at a cost to the environment. What are these people at County Hall thinking about?
I wholeheartedly support any attempts to thwart the outrageous proposals of Durham County Council. I have constantly commented to the good folk of this county that I was fortunate to be at a meeting addressed by Dr Jonathon Poritt [no less] who had serious reservations about the affects on our beautiful city and its environs, if the County Council had its way. He had viewed the proposals and was appalled. While I am not against progress and have a vested interest in assuring the county has a future to offer up and coming generations, it should not be at a cost to the environment. What are these people at County Hall thinking about? peter laidler

10:31pm Fri 6 Dec 13

Nicholas_Till says...

One is given the impression the Council wants to re-jig the whole County, let alone the City, round some ultra-prestigious company headquarters that they are going to magic onto Aykley Heads, having removed County Hall.

This has been in the air for years. I've asked Council officers at recent consultations if there have been any invitations, negotiations, expressions of serious interest - any news at all, in fact, on this one.

No. Zilch. Nada.

So, it stays in the air. Maybe it's been for the birds all along.

I get the impression DCC are either trying to make Durham fit round a genuine gamble that they seem to be playing with a pretty lethargic hand, or that they know very well what's supposed to materialise but are loth to tell us.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's a fortress of some kind.
One is given the impression the Council wants to re-jig the whole County, let alone the City, round some ultra-prestigious company headquarters that they are going to magic onto Aykley Heads, having removed County Hall. This has been in the air for years. I've asked Council officers at recent consultations if there have been any invitations, negotiations, expressions of serious interest - any news at all, in fact, on this one. No. Zilch. Nada. So, it stays in the air. Maybe it's been for the birds all along. I get the impression DCC are either trying to make Durham fit round a genuine gamble that they seem to be playing with a pretty lethargic hand, or that they know very well what's supposed to materialise but are loth to tell us. I wouldn't be surprised if it's a fortress of some kind. Nicholas_Till

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