COUNCIL bosses say they are “confident” the latest version of a blueprint aimed at guiding development in County Durham until 2035 will meet the approval of a government inspector.

The County Durham Plan is due to undergo scrutiny by planning inspector William Fieldhouse during a four-week examination, due to start next week.

Durham County Council planning officers, housing developers and residents will converge on Murton, in east Durham, to give their views.

It is the second time the County Durham Plan has reached this stage.

This time, the council’s head of planning Stuart Timmiss and spatial policy manager Mike Allum say they are “confident” it will get through.

Mr Timmiss said government guidance had changed since Durham’s last examination in public, with inspectors told to do more work with local authorities and objectors to ensure plans are judged to be sound at the end of process.

He added he thought planned investment in County Durham had "put to bed" concerns raised by the last inspector about its economic ambitions.

He said: "We've largely put that to bed and we have a really good story of economic ambition in the county.

"The level of investment in County Durham is significant - we're shouting about it."

The plan says County Durham will need an additional 24,852 houses by 2035 and also includes allocations for 302 hectares of land for offices, industry and warehousing.

Parts of the plan have sparked controversy, including proposals to build western and northern relief roads in Durham and putting about 2,000 homes in the city’s greenbelt.

The timetable for the examination, which starts on Tuesday, has been released, outlining which issues will be discussed on each day.

Dozens of organisations and individuals have registered to speak during 11 days of discussions at The Glebe Centre.

As well as saying where and how much housing should be built, the plan includes policies on all sorts of developments, from forcing housebuilders to erect a minimum number of affordable homes and homes aimed at older people to one limiting hot food takeaways near schools and in towns where they account for more than five per cent of units.

Among the objectors are developers, town councils, political parties, householders, greenbelt campaigners and fast food giant KFC.

A full day will be devoted to some of the more controversial aspects of the plan, including the Durham city relief roads, which will be discussed on Wednesday, November 13 and green belt, which is due for debate on Thursday, October 24.

A full day of discussions around Durham University will take place on Thursday, November 14.

Strategic allocations in Durham city will be discussed on Tuesday, November 12 while housing allocations are due to be talked about on Tuesday, November 26.

The process is expected to finish by Thursday, December 5 and the council hopes to get the inspector’s first report by next March.

The examination takes place in Murton, which was chosen as one of only a handful of venues that met all the criteria for what was needed.

The decision sparked complaints because of its distance from places like Weardale and Teesdale.

As a result, a bus is being put on to try and ensure people can get to the venue on time.

It will leave County Hall, in Aykley Heads, Durham each day at 8.40am.

The return bus leaves Murton at 5.30pm.