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Development (Durham)

Volume 468: debated on Wednesday 28 November 2007

The Petition of the people of the City of Durham,

Declares that the green space formerly the Bowling Green, situated on the Old Racecourse on the bank of the river Wear at Elvet waterside, is under threat from development.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Department for Communities and Local Government to do all to protect and retain this public space for the present citizens of the City of Durham, future residents, posterity and visitors.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Dr. Roberta Blackman-Woods, Official Report, 24 July 2007; Vol. 463, c. 806 .] [P000068]

Observation from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

1. Development proposals for Elvet Waterside affecting the former Bowling Green are at an early stage, and the City Council and the developer are still in discussion with statutory consultees and local residents about the future development. There is no definite date yet for submission of a planning application.

2. Development management is primarily the responsibility of the City of Durham as local planning authority, and the Secretary of State would not comment on the merits or otherwise of an application, or prospective application.

3. The law requires decisions on planning applications to be in accordance with the adopted development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The Government's statements of national planning policy, such as PPG 17 "Planning for Open Space Sport and Recreation", are material considerations which must be taken into account, where relevant, in planning decisions, but it is the responsibility of Durham City Council to identify and weigh up all the different issues, in the context of the specific local circumstances, having regard to the views of local residents and other interested parties.

4. The Secretary of State may decide to call-in an application for her own determination where she considers that it raises issues of more than local importance, but her policy is to be very selective about this. As it is possible that the Elvet Waterside application may at some future date come within her jurisdiction, it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter raised in the petition.