A TIMETABLE is set to be agreed for the resumption of a planning blueprint which has been on hold for more than a year.

Members of Durham County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to vote next week on a new process for the implementation of the County Durham Plan, a document which governs development and planning policy in the county.

The first version of the County Durham Plan was rejected by an independent inspector in 2015 as being overly ambitious.

Following a legal challenge to that report, the process was resumed last year, but was paused in December after changes to Government housing policy.

A report to the council says the Government has now released some information on future housing numbers and, while resuming the process before full guidance is published “has some risks,” the council is committed to bringing forward a plan as soon as possible.

If approved by Cabinet, the new County Durham Plan’s preferred options would be published in the spring and then go out to public consultation later in 2018.

Cllr Carl Marshall, Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “The council reluctantly took the decision to pause the County Durham Plan process while we waited for further information from the Government about fundamental changes to the way housing numbers are calculated.

“While some information has now been forthcoming it’s essential that the Government provides the certainty needed for planning on this scale with the County Durham Plan set to shape the county for decades to come”.

He added: “The plan is absolutely vital to creating a thriving county for those that live, work and visit County Durham.

“So it is the right decision to look to resume the process as soon as possible with a timescale that allows for future Government policy changes to be incorporated into the plan and gives us the chance to engage with residents and businesses.”