Trust Response to Consultation on Sniperley Park Masterplan

Trustees have submitted a lengthy response to the County Council’s consultation on its draft Masterplan for the Sniperley Park housing development. This site is one of two “sustainable urban extensions” to be built on land taken from the Green Belt by the County Durham Plan. The other is at Bent House Lane, Sherburn. Between them they will accommodate over 2000 houses.

The County Durham Plan stipulates in Policy 5 that each site should be required to conform to a comprehensive masterplan that sets out the general layout and phasing of the development, including the necessary community facilities for health, education and recreation, as well as promoting sustainable travel to and within the sites.

Unfortunately developers on both sites have submitted planning applications in advance of the publication of the definitive masterplans. Indeed, the application by Banks for the Bent House Lane site has already received outline planning approval on the basis of a plan that they submitted themselves. The Trust protested strongly about this departure from Policy 5 and we are relieved to see that the County Council is taking a firmer line with the Sniperley Park site for which three applications have already been submitted. The whole point of the Masterplan is to ensure cohesion among different developers so that the overall vision set out in the County Durham Plan is achieved.

The Trust’s submission about the Masterplan is available. It is the fruit of weeks of hard and expert work by Trustees. We commend what the County Council has proposed and also move beyond that with further proposals to enhance the design quality of the houses, improve the spatial layout of the site, promote energy efficiency with recommendations about a district heating system and, above all, encouraage sustainable travel so that there is good connectivity between the site and neighbouring facilities. One of the key justifications for removing the site from the Green Belt was that it was close to Durham City and therefore could reduce the need to travel for work and essential services.

The above is just a flavour of the riches contained in the submission. Please read it for yourself.

The Trust makes responses to planning proposals that affect the city. The Trust’s responses to developers’ current planning proposals for Sniperley Park, made in advance of the master plan, are as follows:


  1. With excellent timing, an appeal decision on a housing development in Cambridgeshire ends with something of heart-warming relevance to the Trust’s views on Bent House Lane and Sniperley Park. In his report, the Inspector says: “Consequently, the appeal scheme fails to create high quality, beautiful and sustainable buildings and places which is a fundamental aim to what the Framework requires and the planning and development process should achieve. Thus, the appeal schemes would conflict with the Framework and I attach significant weight to this harm.”
    DCC take note!

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