DETAILS have been announced for the public examination of a plan which will guide economic development in County Durham for the next 15 years.

Senior inspector Harold Stephens has been appointed by the Government to oversee the public hearing into the County Durham Plan, the economic blueprint which will shape development in the county until 2030.

Mr Stephens is to hold a pre-hearing meeting in Chester-le-Street on July 31 at which he will set out the process of the plan’s Examination In Public, which will start in earnest on September 30.

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Following the meeting later this month, the council and other interested parties will be given the opportunity to provide further information about the issues raised before the public hearings begin.

Once the full Examination in Public is underway, there will be a series of meetings where groups and residents can have their say on specific aspects of the plan.

Drawn up over several years following five exhaustive rounds of consultation with residents, businesses and other interested parties, the County Durham Plan is Durham County Council’s vision for the county’s future.

It sets out housing, transport and business developments designed to transform County Durham into an economic powerhouse, with 29,000 new homes and 16,000 new jobs.

Coun Neil Foster, Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “The County Durham Plan aims to create a vibrant and prosperous County Durham where people want to live, work, invest and visit.

“We’re delighted that the next stage of the process has begun and look forward to the outcomes of the examination, which will set out the council’s future in terms of employment and new homes, as well as ensuring our community’s future is sustainable.”