A PUBLIC consultation is starting today to get people's views on what the planning strategy for Durham city should like.

A draft strategy of a neighbourhood plan for the city has been published, covering issues like development, land use and housing and is aimed at making sure planning decisions protect Durham's built and natural heritage.

It includes policies on things like student housing, affordable housing and housing for older people as well as creating sustainable transport infrastructure, car parking and the provision of community facilities.

The plan was initially created by members of Durham's neighbourhood planning forum and has since been taken over the City of Durham Parish Council.

Roger Cornwell, chairman of the Parish Council Durham City Neighbourhood Planning working party, said “An initial public consultation on the plan was held in December 2017 and we were delighted by the public’s response.

"This revised plan incorporates comments made by the public.

"A further public consultation is now being held because the Neighbourhood Plan is now the responsibility of the recently established City of Durham Parish Council.

"We are inviting the public to come to drop-in sessions to share their views on the plan and to fill-in questionnaires or make comments online or send letters.”

The public consultation starts today and runs until June 28.

Drop-in events will be held at St. John’s Church, Neville’s Cross on Wednesday, May 22 from 2pm – 6pm; St. Giles’ Church Hall, Gilesgate, Monday, June 3 3pm-7pm; St. Nicholas’ Church, Durham Market Place Wednesday, June 12 3pm- 7.30pm.

Copies of the plan will also be available to view at Durham Town Hall, County Hall and Clayport Library with forms available to fill-in with comments.

Pippa Bell, engagement officer for the Durham City Neighbourhood Plan Working Party, said: “This is a great opportunity to influence the future of the city we live and work in and I urge everyone to have their say on the policies in the plan.”

Following consultation, any amendments, which may be agreed, will be incorporated into the draft plan which will then be submitted to Durham County Council for further consultation, scrutiny by an independent examiner and a public referendum.

Once approved, the pan has to be taken into account in all planning decisions taken by the county council.

The draft plan can be viewed at at www.npf.durhamcity.org.uk/the-plan/.