RESIDENTS of Sedgefield have given their backing to a project that will give the community a formal say in planning decisions in the town.

In a community referendum on Thursday, September 12, almost 93 percent of those who voted expressed support for The Sedgefield Plan, the draft neighbourhood plan for the parish.

Turnout in the referendum saw 25.8 percent of the community turn out.

The Sedgefield Plan will now become a statutory planning document that Durham County Council and other authorities must refer to when determining development proposals in the area.

Developed by Sedgefield Town Council and community volunteers, the plan contains policies about land use until 2033, which will influence the quantity, type, density, design and style of future housing, along with community and sports facilities and open spaces, amenities for young people, and other matters relating to land use in the town.

The plan also includes a Built-up Area Boundary (BUAB), which maps out where future development in Sedgefield should be allowed, with the policies setting out limitations on what will be permitted inside and outside that boundary.

Councillor Mel Carr, chair of Sedgefield Town Council, said: “Sedgefield Town Council is delighted with the result of the referendum. The residents of Sedgefield have made it very clear that they want The Sedgefield Plan and its policies to have weight when decisions are made about planning applications in our community. This sends a strong message to both planners and developers that people in Sedgefield are determined to have a say in any future decisions about land use here. In our plan, we have set out a clear and positive vision for Sedgefield and we will use the document to ensure that future developments reflect this community’s wishes."

“The town council is very grateful to everyone who contributed to the development and drafting of the plan, and the many others who supported that work, as well as to all of those who voted for its approval."

The Sedgefield Plan document and archive material from throughout the process can be viewed at thesedgefieldplan.co.uk or a copy can be read in the town council office.