NO major changes have been made to a proposed development plan for County Durham.

The final version of the County Durham Plan is expected to be approved next week, ahead of it going before an independent examination in public.

The plan contains policies relating to building a proposed 24,852 houses and developing 302 hectares of land for offices, industry and warehousing.

More than 1,000 people gave their views on the last draft version of the plan, with almost 3,000 comments made about policies.

Meanwhile, several petitions were also handed it. One, against northern and western relief roads for Durham, was signed by 676 people, while one objecting to building on the city’s green belt had 659 signatures.

Two e-petitions relating to the relief roads were also submitted. One in favour was signed by nine people while one against was signed by 342 people.

The council says it has reviewed all of the comments but there were no issues that affected the "soundness" or legality of the plan.

The only amendments to have been made to the proposed final version are minor text and formatting changes.

The council's cabinet is expected to approve submission of the plan when it meets next week.

Councillor Carl Marshall, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “The County Durham Plan will ensure the county continues to thrive as a great place to live, work and visit for generations to come. The plan builds on the success of the county in attracting significant jobs and business to the area creating the environment in which business can thrive. It also ensures we build the right houses in the right places to meet the needs of our communities.

"Balancing the needs of new development whilst protecting and indeed enhancing our environment is a difficult balance but one which the plan embraces and has a central theme.

“During our extensive consultation we received almost 3,000 comments on the plan, which we considered carefully and will send to the Planning Inspectorate as part of the submission. We would like to send out our thanks to every resident, business and community that took the time to contribute and help shape the future of our county.”

The council is on track to submit the plan this month, with the examination in public expected to take place in the autumn.

This is the council's second attempt to get the County Durham Plan approved after a previous version had to be withdrawn after being criticised as overly ambitious.

This version of the plan has faced criticism from several quarters, including those who are unhappy about greenbelt encroachment, plans for relief roads around Durham and those who say there is too much focus on the city and not enough on other parts of the county.