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View our planning policies


Find information on the plans and policies which support the decision making process for planning applications.

Local plans

The County Durham Plan, which is currently under preparation, will set out how much new development is needed for job creation, housing and shopping and the infrastructure needed to support these such as transport, schools and green spaces up to the year 2035. 

Until the plan is agreed a series of Local Plans are in place to support planning decisions. Find out What's in place to support planning and development decision making at the moment?.

Neighbourhood development plans and orders

In the Localism Act 2011, the Government gave local communities the opportunity to develop neighbourhood plans for their local area - to have their say on what new developments are allowed. You can find out more about neighbourhood plans already in place in County Durham, how to set one up and how to get involved at Shaping your neighbourhood - Neighbourhood Development Plans and Orders.

Town centre masterplans

Masterplans and regeneration frameworks provide detailed planning guidance for the main towns in County Durham. 

They help to set down in more detail how our towns can develop in the future, ensuring that buildings and spaces are of the right type and are in the right place.  

They should complement existing council guidance and documents, and should be taken into account as material planning considerations when applications are being considered.

Commuted sums funding

Affordable housing - Commuted Sums funding are funds available to build affordable housing in our county. Registered housing providers, developers, community initiatives or other interested parties, are able to access some of these funds through various ways. 

Developer Contributions Towards Education Provision

Our Icon for pdf Securing Developer Contributions for Education 2017 (PDF, 290.6kb)  aims to mitigate against pressures placed on school places, as a result of new housing, was approved by our Cabinet in September 2015. Where there is a shortfall in available school places, the following charging schedule (reviewed annually) will apply:  

  • Primary = £14,516 per place
  • Secondary = £16,344 per place

See also our Planning of Pupil Places document which provides an overview of current and future pupil numbers across the county.

Habitat Regulations Assessment: Developer Guidance and Requirements in County Durham

Our Icon for pdf HRA Developer Guidance and Requirements in County Durham (PDF, 5.6mb)  explains the requirements relating to European Protected Sites. There are nine of these sites in the County and we have a duty for their protection. Development is carefully controlled in these areas and must meet three special tests before it can go ahead.

Contact us
Planning - Central/East
03000 262 830
Our address is:
  • Room 4/86-102
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UL

Planning - South/West/North
03000 262 830
Our address is:
  • G73-82
  • County Hall
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UL

Planning (strategic)
03000 262 830
Our address is:
  • Room 123-128
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UL
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