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Development Viability, Affordable Housing and Financial Contributions Supplementary Planning Document (second stage) consultation


We want your views on the updated draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) (originally called Developer Contributions) following consultation during 2022.

A total of 20 responses were received to the consultation from developers and other interested bodies. The document is being finalised and will be adopted by the Council in 2023.

Background

New development can put a strain on existing things like local schools, health services, open spaces and affordable housing. The County Durham Plan (CDP) requires that developers provide additional or improved services when the development is likely to affect communities. This means they have the potential to create or improve existing facilities and services through developer contributions.

The County Durham Plan (CDP) was adopted in October 2020. It provides a framework for new housing developments and helps to assess planning applications up to 2035. Currently, regulations relating to developer contributions are held within a range of different policy documents such as housing, education, the environment and health. This SPD will support the CDP and other related policies, by bringing together all the regulations for developer contributions into one document.

The SPD also sets out what information is required from developers to understand if a development is financially possible.

Key changes

Following a first stage of consultation in 2022, key changes to the document have been made which include:

  • It has been clarified that developer contributions will be spent within the area affected by the development to meet the requirements of  The Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010. However, this does not apply to affordable housing contributions as County Durham is one countywide housing market area.
  • The reference to the potential use of developer contributions for our core projects has been deleted and now aligns with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which requires that developer contributions are spent in specific response to the direct effects of a development.
  • The affordable housing calculator has been revised and updated to align with the requirements of Policy 15 (Addressing Housing Need) of the CDP.
  • New text has been added to cover the Government's First Homes policy, with cross reference to the Housing Needs SPD which is also under consultation.
  • New text has been added clarifying how the Open Space Needs Assessment and Playing Pitch Strategy are implemented in practice.
  • The education chapter has additional text relating to 'high needs learners who require specialist provision' and costs relating to this service provision.
  • The health chapter has been updated to reflect up to date requirements from the NHS.
  • The transport and digital infrastructure section has additional information about ensuring that new developments have access to public transport services.
  • Text has been added to the transport and digital infrastructure section covering the fourth Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP4) (currently in development).
  • Text has been added to the transport and digital infrastructure section to include developments affecting the strategic road network.
  • Updated viability testing has been undertaken to assess what has changed in the housing market since the viability testing which informed the CDP was carried out. This is to see the viability implications of what has changed and what the impact is for future development.

Read the SPD and register to comment on it.

Have your say

The closing date for comments was 5.00pm on 11 April 2023.

What happens next

Responses to the consultation will be considered in drafting the final version of the document. Any final amendments to the document will be considered and justified before completion and approval. Once approved, the SPD will be adopted and will be used to assess planning applications.

Contact us
Spatial Policy
03000 263 967