Grand designs for a 'garden village' development for 2,000 homes are one step closer to reality today.

Council leaders have approved key guidance for plans for the Burtree Garden Village, or Greater Faverdale in Darlington.

The major development will see 2,000 new homes built over a 20-year period, and 200,000sqm of employment space creating more than 6,000 jobs.

It is planned for a greenfield site on old farmland near Burtree Lane, Faverdale Industrial Estate and the A68.

Read more: Darlington MP Peter Gibson backs skills hub plan at Burtree development

The "garden village" - as promoted by the government's Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities - is part of the Darlington Local Plan, approved and adopted by the council in February.

Planning guidance on the scheme, in a new "design code", was presented to a Darlington Borough Council cabinet meeting following consultation in April to May.

The Northern Echo: A map of the Burtree Garden Village site. Picture: Hellens Group.A map of the Burtree Garden Village site. Picture: Hellens Group.

Facilities including a primary school are also promised for the 178-hectare site, in a development "retaining and enhancing much of the existing green space".

The guidance says: "The council's vision for Greater Faverdale is to create an outstanding mixed-use development which incorporates housing and commercial office space... in an attractive new neighbourhood which is fully integrated with its surroundings.

"The pioneering ethos of the original garden villages should be continued and brought into the 21st century."

Read more: Funds to develop ‘green’ village

The "design code" is a set of requirements which will guide the development, outlining "must haves" for the future plans.

Proposals for the new village will need to meet "very high design quality" standards before they get permission for a "masterplan" then more detailed plans.

A traffic light-type checklist will be used to work out whether proposals are well designed and can go ahead, or need more work or a rethink.

Elements covered include landscape, nature, open spaces, biodiversity, transport, traffic, heritage, pedestrian and bike routes, jobs and employment sites, health, retail, leisure, food, waste, climate, energy, and distinctive local village layouts, materials, character and architecture.

Read more: Darlington council accused of 'sweeping away' its own Local Plan

The village will be divided into seven "character areas" - Faverdale North Extension, Whessoe Grange North, Whessoe Grange Park, Whessoe Grange West, Burtree Dene Beck, Burtree Lane and High Faverdale.

The first phase, Faverdale North Extension, "must set the quality benchmark... must shout out that this is somewhere different... where pedestrians and cyclists are seen as more important than vehicles".

The garden village is the first large-scale use of the "Healthy New Towns" pilot programme - the only one selected in the North-east, intended to deliver healthier environments and care.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Matthew Snedker. Picture: Gareth Lightfoot.Cllr Matthew Snedker. Picture: Gareth Lightfoot.

Councillor Matthew Snedker told the cabinet meeting: "This design guide has many points to recommend it.

"On the whole, [it] is a very positive and strong document and has many fine features, but I think it could be made better still."

He raised concerns regarding road users' health and safety, footways, cycleways, and the idea of "passive" house design which would take away the need to heat homes, ease fuel poverty and strengthen the local economy.

Cllr Alan Marshall, cabinet member for the economy, presented the design to the meeting.

The cabinet approved it and the full council will decide on adopting it as policy at a meeting on Thursday.


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