KFC could speak out during four-week probe into plans to restrict takeaways around schools

Fast food chain KFC could give evidence against plans to restrict the number of takeaways in parts of County Durham.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 11:54 am
Updated Friday, 18th October 2019, 1:02 am
The County Durham Plan, which is supposed to set planning policy in the county until 2035, is due to go under the microscope from next week as part of a four-week public examination.

The County Durham Plan, which is supposed to set planning policy in the county until 2035, is due to go under the microscope from next week as part of a four-week public examination.

The process is expected to take until early December, with 14 sessions planned across 11 days, covering issues such as where new homes should be built in the county and where the necessary infrastructure for those properties should go.

The fried chicken restaurant chain is listed as a participant for a discussion on the plan’s approach to town centres, which has set out proposals to limit the number of fast food outlets permitted within specific areas – particularly near schools.

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The document, which follows Durham County Council’s failed attempt to have a previous plan approved in 2015, is due to pave the way for about 5,500 new homes and up to 6,000 jobs.

Objections from the public have focussed on planned development of greenbelt sites, as well as two proposed ‘relief roads’ for Durham City.

The decision to base the examination, which will be led by William Fieldhouse, a government planning inspector, at Murton’s Glebe Centre also provoked concerns from some of the plan’s opponents.

Complaints have focussed on the difficulty of reaching Murton from more remote parts of the county, such as Teesdale and Weardale, prompting council bosses to arrange a special bus service.

“It would have been great if we could have [the examination in Durham City], but this is the independent inspector’s examination,” said Stuart Timmis. DCC’s head of planning.

“He tasked us to find a venue that was available for each day, that had an office for him and a range of rooms to accommodate people, up to about 100 for a big event and about 50 for a smaller one.

“It also had to be on a main bus route and have accessible parking and one of the weeks is also Lumiere in Durham City, so that became a real challenge.

“There was only one or two areas that came out and by far the best was the Glebe Centre.”

Council bosses hope the inspector will be ready to share his findings by early March, which could judge the plan legally sound, suggest changes, or send the council back to the drawing board.

Following further consultation, it is expected a final version will be ready to present to councillors for approval and formal adoption by June or July.

Further details of the council’s planned bus service and the examination’s schedule are available on the county council’s website.

Examination-in-public schedule summary:

Week One

Tuesday, October 22:

Legal compliance and viability of the plan.

Wednesday, October 23:

Morning session – housing and job numbers

Afternoon – where those houses and jobs go. Requirements for Durham City are expected to be most contentious. First mention of development on greenbelt sites.

Thursday, October 24:

The greenbelt. Not expected to discuss specific sites, instead it will focus on the methodology of selecting greenbelt sites for development generally.

[two week break for half term]

Week Two

Tuesday, November 12:

Development sites in Durham City.

Wednesday, November 13:

Transport plans for Durham City, including relief roads.

Thursday, November 14:

Durham University, including growth of the student population, student accommodation and HMOs (houses in multiple occupation).

[one week break]

Week Three

Tuesday, November 26:

Housing land supply and housing sites across the county.

Wednesday, November 27:

Housing need, such as affordable homes and homes for the elderly – head of planning Stuart Timmis believes Durham is the only local authority requiring homes be set aside for the elderly as well as affordable housing schemes.

Transport and other housing infrastructure outside Durham City will also be discussed.

Thursday, November 28:

Economic development, town centres and hot food takeaways – fast food chain KFC has notified the council it intends to raise objections to a proposed policy limiting the number of takeaways permitted in town centres and near schools.

Week Four

Tuesday, December 3:

Environmental issues, including tree policies and biodiversity protection.

Wednesday, December 4:

Minerals and waste policy.