PLANS to create thousands of jobs and new homes across County Durham are to take a step forward with further consultation beginning this week.

Durham County Council’s County Durham Plan will move a step closer to being adopted, with people being given eight weeks from Tuesday, May 26, to comment on modifications made to it.

Much of the content of the plan has been accepted by a Government planning inspector subject to several modifications that he considers are necessary before it can proceed.

It sets out a range of development proposals as well as planning policies for the county until 2035.

This hopes to ensure that the right homes are developed in the right places to meet the needs of residents, including a mix of affordable properties for the elderly on each and every site.

The plan is expected to facilitate thousands of new jobs at locations right across the county, including key economic sites at Seaham, Durham and Newton Aycliffe.

It also looks at ensuring the protection of the historic and natural environment and how infrastructure will come forward to support development, such as new or expanded schools, healthcare provision and community facilities.

The council believes the plan will aid the county’s economic recovery from coronavirus and provide certainty to businesses and communities.

It includes provision for housing and employment land - the plan envisages 24,852 new homes across the county and over 300 hectares of new land being allocated specifically for business and industry development, including the Aykley Heads site.

It also includes Green Belt deletions at Aykley Heads, Sniperley Park and Sherburn Road.

Twenty seven housing allocations and affordable and older persons housing - the plan proposes that between ten and 25 per cent of homes in all developments are affordable.

Councillor Carl Marshall, the council's Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We have been closely following Government guidance around when consultation can be carried out on local plans and are pleased to now be in a position to give people the chance to comment on the modifications.

“Due to the current situation we are extending the consultation period from six to eight weeks to give people as much opportunity as possible to take part."