Frequently Asked Questions
During the consultation we will update this page with some frequently asked questions which may be of assistance to you in providing comments or submitting a site for consideration. Questions can be filtered by typing key words in the box below.
What is a Local Plan?
A Local Plan sets out where new homes, workplaces and other developments should be built to meet the area’s future needs, while conserving an area’s most valuable environmental assets. Comprising a document and a map, a Local Plan sets planning policy and provides guidance on how planning applications are determined.
What is the purpose of the plan?
This document will have an end date of 2036 and will guide how the town develops by allocating some land for new development and protecting some in its current use. It will give clear guidance and vision which will stimulate inward investment and much needed housing development across the borough as well as including detailed new policies to help determine planning applications and manage developments of all types across the Borough. The plan will replace the Darlington Local Plan 1997, and the Darlington Core Strategy 2011.
Why does Darlington need a new Local Plan?
The Council is required to have an up to date Development Plan for the Borough. Some of Darlington’s current policies are getting old and need refreshing, whilst some topics need totally new policies to ensure we meet the Borough’s future needs in the most sustainable way possible.
We were working on the Making and Growing Places DPD which would have delivered the Core Strategy we adopted in 2011, but it became clear that we couldn’t fit all the new development required into the old strategy. As soon as we realised we need a new strategy, we started work on a single Local Plan that could deliver the development the Borough needs and aspires to by 2036.
That doesn’t mean we are starting again from scratch. A lot of the work on the Core Strategy and the Making and Growing Places is still relevant and will inform the new Local Plan policies. We’re also using it in our Interim Planning Position Statement, which sets out the Council’s position on a number of planning issues.
What does 'Regulation 19' mean?
Regulation 19 is part of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. It says that, before submitting a draft Local Plan to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate for independent examination, the Authority must first publish a draft of the Local Plan and formally invite comments (known as representations) on it. It makes clear that the Authority must inform and invite representations/comments, not just from consultation bodies like the Environment Agency, Natural England and Historic England, but also from residents and businesses in the area covered by the Local Plan.
At the Regulation 19 stage, representations are invited, but these must be limited to the legal compliance and the soundness of the plan.
What will we be inviting comments on?
We will be inviting formal representations on the Regulation 19 Publication Draft of the Darlington Local Plan. This version of the Local Plan reflects amendments and updates made following the consultation on the Regulation 18 Draft Local Plan which took place during summer 2018.
What are the Tests of Soundness?
At this publication stage, representations must relate only to the legal and procedural requirements for preparing Local Plans and the ‘soundness’ of the Publication Draft version of the Local Plan, as set out in the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The statutory ‘tests of soundness’ require that the Local Plan is:
● Positively prepared – in seeking to meet the area’s objectively assessed needs; is informed by agreements with other authorities, and is consistent with achieving sustainable development;
● Justified – an appropriate strategy, taking into account the reasonable alternatives, and based on proportionate evidence;
● Effective – deliverable over the plan period, and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic matters; and
● Consistent with national policy – enabling the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the NPPF.
Why should I get involved?
This is the last opportunity for the public to make representations on the Local Plan before it is formally submitted to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate for independent examination (a form of public inquiry). Only representations made at this ‘publication’ stage will be considered by the appointed Planning Inspector at the examination stage.
How do I register and provide comments on the Local Plan?
The Consultation Portal homepage can be accessed here:
How to Register:
- Go to the portal - https://darlington-consult.objective.co.uk/portal
- Click ‘Login/Register’
- Click ‘Register’
- Complete Registration form (mandatory fields are marked *) and click ‘OK’
- You should now receive an email with a link you must click the link to confirm your registrations.
How to Comment:
- Once registered and logged in click ‘Read and Comment on Document’
- From the document individual paragraphs or sections can be commented on by clicking the relevant ‘Add Comments’ button.
- A comments form then appears for you to fill in with options to ‘save a draft’ or ‘submit’.
- You can submit as many comments on as many different areas of the plan as you like using this method. (They don’t have to be submitted at the same time).
I’ve registered on the consultation portal but I cannot login?
- Have you clicked on the activation link in the registration email to activate your account?
- Are you using the correct details?
- Use the forgotten password / username feature if you cannot remember your login details
- Contact us at [email protected] if you are still having difficulties
What happened to my comments on the Draft Local Plan?
If you emailed or wrote to us, your comments were entered onto the Planning Policy Consultation Portal and can still be viewed online at https://darlington.objective.co.uk/portal. Comments made online can also still be viewed on the online portal. Officers considered all of the responses made to the Draft Local plan and responded to each of the comment themes. A summary of the comments made, the officer responses, and any resulting recommended changes to the Draft Local Plan were then reported to a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet in February 2020.
After receiving Council approval on 20 February 2020 the recommended changes made to the Draft Local Plan will now form the Proposed Submission Local Plan against which representations will be invited for a six-week period starting April/May 2020*.
*Update* Due to the ongoing and developing situation with the Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic we are currently unable to advise when the Local Plan will be placed on deposit. Further information can be found at the Local Plan Deposit (Regulation 19) Representation Period - Update.
Where can I view the Draft Local Plan Policies Map?
The Draft Local Plan Policies Map. can be viewed and downloaded from our consultation portal. Then click the 'Supporting Documents' tab and the Policies map is entitled 'Policies Map FINAL.pdf'
What is the 'Call for Sites' map?
The Call for Sites map shows the sites which were put forward by land owners, developers and other stakeholders as having potential for delivering housing development over the next 20 years. Inclusion on the map means that the Council has been asked to include these sites in its analysis - it does not confer any status in planning terms. The map was produced following the Local Plan Issues and Scoping consultation held in summer 2016 and has been added to since then. These sites will be assessed for their suitability, availability and developability through the strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (HELAA). This will provide the evidence to determine which sites will subsequently be considered for inclusion as site allocations in the Council’s Local Plan.
I have a site that could be developed. What should I do?
If you have a site which you believe could be used for sustainable development in Darlington, visit our Site Submissions page to find out how to get involved in the Local Plan.
How soon will any development being planned actually happen?
The new Local Plan is for the period from now to 2036. Some of the development, particularly new housing, will need to happen in the next five years. Larger developments and bigger sites are likely to take much longer to get going, especially if new roads, drainage, etc. are needed to open up the land.