A CONTROVERSIAL plan which will be a blueprint for new developments across Darlington borough until 2036 will be voted on by councillors next week.

At a special meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday, February 11 the long-term aspirations for Darlington outlined in the Local Plan will be discussed before a vote on whether to agree it.

If agreed, it would then be submitted for examination by a Government inspector.

The Local Plan provides a guide to where significant new development should be located in the period up to 2036, in particular housing, economic development plans, community facilities and infrastructure.

It was developed under the previous Labour administration but paused in July by the Conservatives in order for it to be re-evaluated.

The revised version has still attracted adverse comments from some local residents and the Green Party, which produced its own study on the proposed developments following what it said were “significant concerns from residents about overdevelopment of the town, particularly on greenfield sites, and the irreversible damage this was doing".

In particular residents were concerned about the proposed 4,500-home garden village, featuring business premises, shops and leisure facilities located near Skerningham in North Darlington that has been granted government funding, and a proposed link road between the A1 and A66.

The study was partly crowdfunded by donations from residents in Skerningham and Blackwell, who would be particularly affected by the proposed the Local Plan.

Anyone, either an individual or an organisation, who wants to have their say on the proposed plan will be able to comment during a final six week period before the plan is submitted for examination. These comments will be submitted for consideration by the Government Inspector.

If Cabinet agree to progress to the next stage, the plan will also be subject to a vote by the Full Council, which will meet on Thursday, February 20, at 6pm.

Councillor Alan Marshall, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “Darlington’s success in the future depends on the growth of our economy. A town that stops growing is one that is in decline. The Local Plan gives us a guide as to where, and what type, of development we want to see in the borough in the coming years.

"Each identified site will require individual planning approvals before any development can commence. It allows us to consider the infrastructure and community facilities that will be needed alongside any housing and economic development in a way that we otherwise couldn’t do.

“It gives us a stronger voice to promote positive development but also to prevent development that we don’t think is suitable.

"There has been a good response to consultation throughout the Local Plan process and, if cabinet and full council agree to accept the plan in its current form, we hope that people will take the opportunity to once again have their say.”