join donate discuss

Developers appeal as Council sticks to its climate change obligations

OpenStreetMap of Sniperley Park Development
Map (simplified) of proposed Sniperley development - © CC BY-SA OpenStreetMap contributors

The two developers of the huge Sniperley Park housing site north of Durham City are taking Durham County Council to appeal for allegedly delaying a decision on their planning applications.

County Durham Green Party has been highly critical of the developers’ plans in its submissions to the Council.

The Sniperley site has been released from the Green Belt to become an exemplar sustainable urban extension to the city, allocated as Site H5 in the County Durham Plan.

Policy 5 of the Plan outlines how this crucial site should be developed to be an attractive and sustainable place to live. It includes the requirement for a full masterplan to have been drawn up for the whole site before planning applications could be considered.

The two developers, County Durham Land and Bellway Homes, ignored this prerequisite.They failed to work together to masterplan the site and submitted premature and conflicting planning applications in 2021 which failed to address the climate crisis and the Policy 5 requirements.

Furthermore, the developers’ failure to produce a masterplan has forced the County Council to develop its own, which was formally adopted in June this year. The Council asked the developers for amended designs to tackle 13 specific failures contrary to the masterplan.

Instead of improving their plans, the developers - finally working together - submitted joint appeals to the Planning Inspectorate on the grounds of ‘non determination’. In other words, accusing the Council of failing to make timely decisions on their planning applications.

Their appeals will be heard in January.

The developers have forced extra costs on to the Council - and ultimately on to us, the taxpayers - in their quest to minimise their environmental obligations and maximise profits.

Green County Councillor Jonathan Elmer said: “Sniperley Park should be a development that the whole of County Durham can be proud of. But bulk developers are now conspiring to block the Council’s environmental and low carbon requirements through the appeal process. It’s incredibly sad to see house builders resorting to defending the status quo instead of rising to the opportunities and challenges of developing greener housing.”

Related news reports:

Council adopts green housing report

For the latest news on this story:

STOP PRESS: Sniperley Park developers withdraw their appeals!

- As of the 4th November 2022 -