Have you responded to the County Durham Plan consultation? Here are some questions you may want to address.
THE FOUR MAIN QUESTIONS
QUESTION 7: Do you agree with DCC’s economic strategy, which makes Aycliffe Business Park (ABP) an industrial driver of the county? If you do, then you should SAY so, because people are writing in who disagree with economic growth in principle, or who want that growth to be in their town not ours.
Much the same goes for transport in QUESTION 31. Do you agree with ‘sustainable’ transport … or do you think that the policy is too anti-car? There are some sensible suggestions for new roads and rail, but – given the importance of ABP – do we ask that the C35 also is an economically strategic route? Also the CDP suggests two locations for a rail freight interchange (Forrest Park on ABP, or Tursdale); I wonder how many people have written in supporting the Tursdale option?
QUESTION 10: The number of houses proposed for Aycliffe has been reduced on 2015, because the government’s formula suggests we won’t need as many. Nevertheless, the Planners judge that we will still need 830 more houses by 2035 to support our growing Business Park. I have heard some people saying they want more, so Aycliffe can be more important; others want fewer, fearing for our ‘green’ environment. Is this something on which you have a view?
QUESTION 39: And what about the design of new housing estates? The CDP adopts the industry-agreed ‘Building for Life 12’ as its standard. Personally, I would want more open space, wider estate roads, more off-street parking, lower densities, ‘lifetime homes’ with bigger rooms, and broadband and solar panels for every new home. There are higher standards out there (e.g. ‘Passivhaus’), so do we seek them … or do we trust the Planners, who fear that insisting on ‘better-than-BfL12’ may make construction commercially unviable, and lose us the house-building our economy needs?
There are many more questions in the CDP Preferred Options, which you can find online at: bit.lt/CDPPOF
These policies will determine planning decisions until 2035, but we need to comment before 3 August!
• QUESTION 16: the proposed policy hinders non-retail uses in our town centres – do you agree, or should we accept that town centres need to contract, and allow other uses (e.g. office-space and housing)
• QUESTION 22: should developers’ affordable housing contributions be restricted to new houses … or might they be better directed towards regenerating older housing?
• QUESTION 40: is the restriction of hot food takeaways in policy 32 a vital measure to protect obese communities, or a nanny-state attack on a harmless indulgence?
• QUESTIONS 47-55: are the policies to conserve and enhance our natural and historical environment – including, wonderfully, a specific policy for the Stockton & Darlington Railway – sufficient … or would you wish them tougher (or laxer)?
The Planners will not allow into the CDP things which will break national planning rules so that the government turns down the Plan (again). However, they ARE anxious to hear what people think, and to agree as much as possible so that – when the Plan goes before the Inspector – we are all satisfied that this is the best we can get and we’re all behind it. So now is the time to support very clearly the bits you think the Preferred Options have got right … and to share your wish-list for the future.
HOW TO TAKE PART
The question for each policy is the same – ‘Do you have any comments?’ To take part simply put the Question number and start “I think…” to: FREEPOST Spatial Policy, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org