Project

County Durham Plan

Durham County Council

Bold growth plans were at the heart of Durham’s submitted Local Plan, which proposed 31,400 new homes, a number of strategic urban extensions to Durham City - released from the Green Belt - and two relief roads. However, the Local Plan Inspector concluded that the plan was too ambitious and recommended withdrawal. The Council sought advice from leading Counsel, who in turn recommended that Lichfields prepare an independent review of the Inspector’s findings.

Our report – based on a forensic interrogation of the documentation – concluded that the Inspector had erred in his findings on objectively assessed need and the proposed relief roads. Our conclusions supported an application for Judicial Review by the Council and other parties, in light of which the Department for Communities and Local Government agreed to quash the Inspector’s report.

We subsequently provided the Council with ‘critical friend’ support in shaping its new plan, as well as preparing its new employment land review evidence.

We needed to get to grips with lots of information and fast. At stake were the Council’s growth ambitions for its area. We approached the task by putting ourselves in the position of the Inspector and seeking to understand how he could have concluded what he did based on the evidence before him. Our report was an important ingredient in the eventual outcome: the quashing of the Inspector’s findings.

Matthew Spry, Senior Director, Lichfields