A COUNCIL is hoping to become the first to include guidelines on how much housing suitable for older people should be included in developments.

Durham County Council has put forward proposals to make at least ten per cent of residential developments suitable for older people. The authority hopes the move, put forward as part of the new version of the County Durham Plan, will help cater for the needs of an ageing population.

Stuart Timmiss, head of planning and assets, said: “We want to look at issues around our growing elderly person population. We will expect proposals for all housing developments to meet the needs of our elderly population with ten per cent of all houses must be designed to meet the requirements of older residents.”

The requirement will be in addition to one to have affordable housing on every new development site.

The County Durham plans includes details of where the council thinks 6,295 houses should be built across the region, which are in addition to the 16,808 which are either under construction or have planning permission.

The council has estimated that County Durham needs 25,992 new homes over the period 2016-2035.

It wants about 15 per cent of housing to be in Durham city, which would require land currently protected by the greenbelt to be developed.

The council, which said the city is currently not delivering enough housing, said there are “exceptional circumstances” to justify removing green belt from around the city".

Councillor Carl Marshall, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “The plan is about more than the economy. It will deliver housing where people need it.”