Issues and Scoping Stage

Issues and Scoping Consultation

During summer 2016, we held a consultation on our initial ideas for the new Local Plan. The consultation asked key questions to help guide thinking and provided information on a number of topic areas.  This information can still be viewed here, including comments received online. Alternatively, all comments received can be viewed in one document here. This was based on the existing planning strategy for Darlington which was in the Core Strategy (adopted by the Council in 2011) and the Making and Growing Places DPD (which was withdrawn in early 2016, before it was adopted). The Strategic Issues and Scoping Paper for the New Local Plan (PDF, May 2016) set out our initial thoughts about what the scope of the new Local Plan should be, and the planning issues that we think it should address.

On Tuesday 8th November 2016, Cabinet approved a report on the Darlington Local Plan 2016-2036 (PDF). In addition to the summary report there were a number of accompanying annex's covering the following: 

The Updated Call for Sites map [pdf document, 8.11MB] (November 2017) 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 this 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.

Moving Forward with the Key Strategic Proposals in 2017

We have established a Strategic Framework for development in the Borough which sets the vision, aims and objectives and will guide the detail of our Local Plan. We have also produced a revised map of key strategic options detailed below. 

The key areas of change we will be exploring over the next year include:

  • Fostering growth in the growth zones previously identified in the Council’s Core Strategy
  • Maintaining a supply of new housing on the most sustainable locations within and adjacent to the existing settlements in the Borough
  • Creating a sustainable strategic urban extension to the north east of the town
  • Ensuring there are enough sites and premises for economic development to take place , both in established industrial areas and if necessary in new developments
  • Pursuing east-west links on the Strategic Road Network to the north and south of the town, between the A1 and the A66
  • Developing the town’s local road network to support new development and improve travel around the Borough
  • Maintaining a focus on the Town Centre and Town Centre fringe to bring regeneration and other improvements

These changes will be pursued alongside our plans to maintain what is good about Darlington including:

  • Our identity as a historic market town surrounded by villages and countryside
  • The open spaces and green areas that people identify with Darlington
  • The rich and varied historic environment
  • Our ecology, biodiversity and geodiversity

  

Next steps...

We need to be sure that we have the best plan for Darlington, but it needs to be flexible enough to respond to changing circumstances. 

Between now and then, we will be engaging with all our stakeholders to develop this strategic framework into deliverable plans and policies. We are going to work with land owners, developers and local residents to develop a detailed plan which:

  • Is the most sustainable plan for the Borough
  • Will meet the Borough’s development needs in full
  • Is strategic and cohesive
  • Can be delivered over the next 15 to 20 years
  • Works with the plans of our neighbouring Boroughs

This will involve making sure we know what the Borough’s development needs are, and working out how best they can be met. We will also look at sites with land owners and developers to work out if they can help meet those needs over the plan period, and what infrastructure will be required to bring them forward.

The Council will make decisions about how the plan progresses, but it can’t do all the work on its own. There will be a number of groups who will explore and evaluate the potential strategic development locations and consider our options on the subjects the plan will cover, such as housing or climate change. The people and organisations who will deliver the plan will be invited to work alongside the Council and other organisations to investigate issues and work out the best way of dealing with them. Local residents will be consulted at key points when options are being appraised and selected.

When the whole plan is ready, we will have a 6 week long consultation when all of our stakeholders, including local residents, will be able to make comments. We think this will happen at the beginning of 2018. After that, we will submit the plan to the Secretary of State, along with all our evidence and everyone’s comments. They will appoint a Planning Inspector to examine it to make sure it is a sound plan for the Borough. If there are conflicts, people who have made comments may be asked to attend hearing to explain their views further before the Inspector advises what the plan should be.