Bent House Lane: further objections

On October 19th 2021 the Trust sent out a press release expressing its dismay that the County Planning Committee approved the planning application for 500 houses at Bent House Lane. The dismay was not against the building of houses in that locality which is a policy (Policy 5) in the County Durham Plan, but that so many of the aspects required by this policy, and other policies, about how the site should be developed had been ignored.

An application has now been made to consider the reserved matters for this site, i.e. appearance, landscaping, layout and scale; the previous approval for the plans for this site was just for outline planning permission for the site, with details only for the road access. The Trust’s objections to this application once again highlight that it fails against Policy 5 and other policies of the County Durham Plan. Briefly listed below are the applications’s responses to the following policy requirements:

  • Masterplan: The reserved application does not cover the whole of the site
  • Design: This application is much poorer in terms of the layout and types of housing than the original proposal. Scant information and evidence on how to achieve the sustainable design policy and Building for Life criteria
  • Protect the character and integrity of Bent House Farm and Old Durham: the application falls well short of what is needed
  • Views to the World Heritage Site (WHS): The application fails to acknowledge and understand that approximately 20% of the site forms the inner setting boundary to the WHS
  • Sustainable Drainage System (SUDS) scheme: The management of this is unexplained
  • Compensatory improvements in the Green Belt: lacks details of increased public access
  • Multi-user paths and connections: not multi-user in design, and some paths have been lost from the original proposal
  • Sustainable transport: no bus route or cycle paths within the site
  • Green infrastructure and landscape: fails to deliver a network of good quality multifunctional green infrastructure with different types of open space

All-in-all, the application offers a standard housing estate that could be anywhere, not the promised sustainable urban extension providing a distinctive gateway to Durham City.

Trust’s comments

Previous Trust’s comments on Bent House Lane development






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