In July 2016 the Independent Examiner appointed to review The Sedgefield Plan delivered his Findings Report. Within this Report were several recommendations which if followed would mean the Neighbourhood Plan was able to move to a Community Referendum. However, one of the notable recommendations was to remove Policy 1 which related to the proposal to have a Built Up Area Boundary within the Plan, something which was overwhelmingly supported by residents who participated in the Plan’s development.
Over the Summer the Planning Inspectorate held a public inquiry as it considered evidence relating to the proposed large-scale development on Eden Drive and the decision was taken by the Town Council to delay any further work on the Neighbourhood Plan until the outcome of the inquiry was known. In the Autumn the Planning Inspectorate announced his decision to over-rule the County Council and grant planning permission for large-scale development on Eden Drive. As this development will now create an additional 300 homes for the Town, the figure which was agreed as being acceptable to local residents albeit not the location upon which they are to be built, meetings have taken place between the Town Council and a Durham County Council Officer to review the Independent Examiner’s Findings Report. The Town Council feels that Policy 1, the Built Up Area Boundary, is an essential component of the Plan and if it was removed the Plan would no longer match the ambitions and aims of the community. The Town Council is now seeking external advice to determine if this Boundary could be extended to include the Eden Drive site and therefore include sufficient land in which to allow development and therefore the Policy remain within the Plan.
The Town Council will keep you updated as this matter progresses by providing future updates through the Sedgefield Extra, the Residents Database and the websites for both the Town Council and The Sedgefield Plan.