Page for Neighbourhood Plan

Neighbourhood Plan Referendum : result

The outcome of the Referendum on the adoption of the Witton Gilbert Neighbourhood Plan was as follows:

Do you want Durham County Council to use the Witton Gilbert Neighbourhood Plan to help it decide planning applications in the Witton Gilbert neighbourhood area?

NO  votes                   56

YES votes                409

Spoiled                           1

Total votes cast  466 this represents 23% of the electorate

A 23%  turnout for a Neighbourhood Plan Refrendum can be considered the higher side of normal.



The Parish Council has been consulting on the Witton Gilbert Neighbourhood Plan since 2013 and in November2018 a pre-submission draftwas completed and submitted for inspection by an Independent Planning Inspector. The plan has since been recommended to go forward to a referendum after consultations with Durham CountyCouncil.
The Plan has taken countless hours of work and research and has at all times involved residents and it is based on your comments and views given at the well attended public meetings and feedback sessions. It is YOUR plan and it can now become formal part of the planning process with full legal status.
A formal referendum organised by the County Council will  be held on the November 7th and polling cards will be issued to all registered voters in Witton Gilbert Parish.    The Neighbourhood Plan is important to the local community as it will sit alongside the County Plan and be used to make planning decisions within the Neighbourhood area.
The aim of the plan can bebriefly expressed as follows:-
* Defines a Settlement Boundary to prevent the erosion of     the  countryside around Witton Gilbert
* Controls Housing Development within the settlement Boundary, and makes provision for affordable housing and homes for older people
* Defines a Historic Zone and helps to ensures all development or alterations within the zone are appropriate
* Encourages Sustainable design
* Protects and promotes Biodiversity within the Parish
* Defines and protects Local Green Spaces from development.
These are shown on the proposals map and include such areas as the playing fields and the allotments
* Protects and supports Community Assets, e.g. The Community Centre, Primary School, the Store and Post Office
* Encourages new and existing business, farm diversification and home working
* Encourages Community energy generation projects.
The plan will also help provide some revenue for Community projects as all Neighbourhood Plan areas get 25% of any Community
Infrastructure Levy applied to a development within the Neighbourhood area.
We encourage parishioners to read all of the information related to this plan contained on this web site or access the plan at the County Council site. There is also a hard copy deposited at Cooper Hall.
If you have any comments please use the form below

Draft Neighbourhood Plan Submission

Witton Gilbert Neighbourhood Plan

Submission to Durham County Council

The Draft Neighbourhood Plan has now been formally submitted to Durham County Council and is subject to a further 6 week consultation before being examined by an independent planning inspector. The Draft Plan and all of the background papers and evidence are available, follow the link below.

Neighbourhood plan submission stage

The inspector will be appointed by Durham County Council to ensure its compliance with the law, with national planning guidance and with the strategic policies of Durham County Council’s local plan.

The planning inspector can require amendments to be made or recommend that the Plan go forward for public referendum. Residents of Witton Gilbert Parish will have a vote on whether to accept or reject the plan. Should the community support the plan it will be formally adopted and become an integral part of the planning process when determining planning applications in the Parish.


The Langley Estate is up for sale. In total there is about 2,615 acres, which includes a large part of the Parish to the west of Witton Gilbert village.

Land immediately adjacent to or in the village is contained within the Fulforth Farm lot which abuts Norburn Park and extends to the boundary of Sacriston,  the village allotments are also  part of the sale.

The extract below from the sales information shows  that the land directly adjacent to the village is seen as a possible development opportunity.

Interest has been expressed by a major national operator to enter into a Promotion Agreement to achieve planning consent for residential development in respect of the land shown as hatched on the sale plan. The Vendor is prepared to put interested parties in touch if required.”

To view details of the sale follow the link below :-

List of individual lots

1 Broom House Farm 633.92 acres
2 Land at Langley House Farm 596.79 acres
3 Langley House Farm and Cottages 64.42 acres
4 Langley West House Farm 213.47 acres
5 Land at Langley West House Farm 34.74 acres
6 Fulforth Farm 430.53 acres
7 Land at Blackburn Farm and Fishing Rights 75.12 acres
8 Land at Fellside Farm 198.37 acres
9 Land at Ibbotsons 107.00 acres
10 Land at Long Edge 13.66 acres
11 Langley Park Industrial Estate 23.82 acres
12 Land at Park Villas 8.02 acres
13 West Hall Cottage 2.24 acres
14 Langley Forest 202.79 acres
15 High Hedley Hope Wind Farm 2.90 acres
16 Fulforth Grazing Land 5.35 acres
17 Allotments 2.05 acres
18 1 Parkhouse Cottage 0.20 acres
The Whole The Langley Estate 2,615.39 acres

Neighbourhood Plan: Responses

Following the 6 week Pre-Consultation period on the Witton Gilbert Neighbourhood Plan. We publish here all of the responses received from residents, statutory consultees and other interested parties.


Follow the link below to see comments.

Pre-Consultation comments

These comments will be carefully considered before the final draft of the Neighbourhood Plan in prepared and examined by an Independent  Planning Inspector, who will advise on compliance with the law and process. The Planning Inspector may  recommend changes before the plan is put to a Community Referendum or recommend further community consultation.

Neighbourhood Plan consultation draft

 Pre-Submission Consultation Stage of the Neighbourhood Plan

This formal consultation must follow the government guidelines required by regulation 14 of the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations 2012 relating to this stage of the plan.

These regulations require the Parish Council  to formally publicise and consult on the Plan for a period of not less than six weeks. This period begins at 6pm on Monday 15th January 2018 and ends at 6pm on Tuesday 27th February 2018.

There have been a number of consultation events over the last 4 years and these have helped to formulate the plan. This is the communities opportunity to review the Plan at this important stage and at the same time the plan goes out to a wide range of statutory bodies and other appropriate consultees.

All representations/comments will be used to inform the development of future drafts of the proposed neighbourhood plan. In addition, they will be incorporated into a Statement of Consultation which will be forwarded to an independent examiner along with a draft of the plan at a later stage.

To review the draft Neighbourhood Plan and submit your comments please click the link below.


Neighbourhood Plan consultation UPDATE

The  public consultation events held at Cooper Hall on 2nd and 4th June were well attended and lively events.  With about 70 people attending the meetings over the two days. Although the responses to much of the plans policy content were generally positive, one area did result in a more robust debate and that was the potential new housing site allocation to the rear of Front Street.

This was the first time a single draft document has been presented, setting all 13 policies in context. The draft document is some 60 pages long  and difficult to digest in the relatively short time at the drop in events. The events were an opportunity for the residents to ask questions and raise issues which concern them, but the consultation will continue online until the 17th June.  The residents were urged to download the plan from this website, look at the whole plan and submit their comments via the online form or to drop off hardcopy comments at Cooper Hall.  Though residents can make their views known or ask questions at any time during this draft stage of the Plan.

All written comments received at all stages of the Plan are documented and will be retained for scrutiny in the later formal stages of the Plan.

We welcome the opportunity to talk to the residents and feel that a single document brought some clarity and answered some questions posed previously.

To clarify some misunderstandings expressed at the meeting:-

  • The Neighbourhood Plan Group consists of volunteers who all live in the parish. This is a community based initiative and is not driven by the County Council.
  • The Steering Group have always encouraged people to contribute and to get engaged with the development of the plan. All volunteers are welcome.
  • This is an opportunity for our community to set its own planning policies to control development in the parish.
  • The Neighbourhood plan is a vision for our community for the next 15 years.
  • The plan is designed to protect our parish from unwanted development and protect the facilities and character of the village for the next generation.
  • The Neighbourhood Plan cannot make things happen, the aim is to encourage good quality design with a design guide and prevent poorly planned development.
  • The policy aims and objectives are based on research and consultation carried out over the last 3 years.
  • The Plan is still very much in its informal consultation stage and there is more work to do.

Please do not think that you have missed the opportunity to have your views heard. You can contact us at any time. Suggestions and ideas from residents are always welcome, we would appreciate any help.







Download the Consultation presentation sheets below.

Consultation sheet 1

Consultation sheet 2

Consultation sheet 3

Consultation sheet 4

Consultation sheet 5

Neighbourhood Plan Consultation

Don’t forget to come along to the consultation events at Cooper Hall  on Thursday 2nd June 6:00pm to 7:30pm and Saturday 4th June 11:00am to 1:00pm.


Its important that you express your opinions and ask questions at this stage as we will soon be moving onto the more formal Consultation phase of the process.

community engagement leaflet No3 copy









The Power of Neighbourhood Planning

First Draft of the Neighbourhood Plan available to download.

The first draft of the Neighbourhood plan has been prepared in preparation of another public consultation phase. We will be holding drop-in events where you can ask detail questions and give your views on the plan. A copy of the plan will be available in the following location for you to examine or you can read it on line on this web site by clicking the link below.

link to Draft Plan page