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Durham County Council

The County Durham Plan process has been paused while we consider changes that are included in a recently released Government White Paper. See our latest news section for more information.

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What's in place to support planning and development decision making at the moment?


Find information about our Development Plan, which sets out how planning and development in County Durham is managed currently until the County Durham Plan is in place.

What does the Development Plan consist of?

The existing development plan is made up of a number of documents (Local Plans) that were put in place for the former districts of County Durham before the local authority was unitised in 2009.  Local Plans are statutory planning documents which shape the development policy for a particular area for land-use, development and protection.

Together, these existing Local Plans, set out information on how planning and development is currently managed. Saved policies in these Local Plans will continue to influence planning and development decisions until the County Durham Plan replaces them.

There are seven Local Plans for County Durham plus a Minerals Plan and a Waste Plan. They are listed below:

AreaDevelopment PlansSaved Local Plan Policies
Chester-le-StreetChester-le-Street Local PlanChester-le-Street local plan saved policies (PDF, 2Mb)
DerwentsideDerwentside Local PlanDerwentside local plan saved policies (PDF, 1Mb)
Durham CityDurham City Local PlanCity of Durham local plan saved policies (PDF, 1Mb) - Please note an Article 4 Direction has been confirmed for a defined area of Durham City for student accommodation (purpose built and houses in multiple occupation) from 16 September 2016.
EasingtonEasington Local PlanEasington local plan saved policies (PDF, 2Mb)
SedgefieldSedgefield Borough Local PlanSedgefield local plan saved policies (PDF, 1Mb)
TeesdaleTeesdale Local PlanTeesdale local plan saved policies (PDF, 1Mb)
Wear ValleyWear Valley District Local PlanWear Valley local plan saved policies (PDF, 1Mb) Please note that policy TM7: New Caravan and Chalet Sites has now expired.
MineralsMinerals Local PlanMinerals local plan saved policies (PDF, 33kb)
WasteWaste Local PlanWaste local plan saved policies (PDF, 764kb)

Determining planning proposals now

Given the timescale for introducing the County Durham Plan, and the dated nature of some of the above local plan policies, there is a degree of uncertainty in determining planning proposals.  

Policy Position Statement (PDF, 272kb) (revised and approved by our Cabinet in April 2016) has, therefore been prepared to set out how planning proposals will be assessed, thus providing for more consistency and certainty.

 It includes guidance on matters such as:

  • the status of local planning documents,
  • five-year housing land supply, and
  • infrastructure requirements and planning obligations.

National planning guidance

Certain individual local plan policies differ from more recent national planning guidelines to varying degrees.  As this has implications on how much each can now be relied upon when the council is  considering planning applications and providing planning related advice, we have looked at how they match up.

Details of these Local Plan assessments against the current national planning guidance can be found on our consultation portal.

The most recent national planning guidelines are: