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Durham County Council

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View our planning policies

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

County Durham Plan

The County Durham Plan, which is currently being developed, 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 2033. 

Until the County Durham 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 development briefs provide detailed planning guidance for Barnard Castle, Crook, Peterlee, Seaham and Murton and Stanley. 

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 policy for securing financial contributions (PDF, 597kb) to mitigate against pressures placed on school places, as a result of new housing, was approved by 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.