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Parish claims plan by county council for new HQ is unlawful

City of Durham Parish Council has written to Durham County Council claiming that its plan to build a new headquarters at local site The Sands would be unlawful.

The parish council said the headquarters plan was an integral part of larger proposals for the Aykley Heads area and the accompanying environmental statement should have covered this.

According to the parish it did not, and thus fails to meet both European and national regulations.

In a letter from local law firm Richard Buxton Solicitors, the parish also said the county’s proposals failed to conform to both national and local plan policies and that consideration of the development’s effects on traffic and air quality was inadequate.

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The parish’s objections also included loss of short stay car parking space and a potential employment site in the city centre.

Parish planning committee chair Roger Cornwell said: “As the legal advice received also highlights that to determine the application at present would be unlawful, our planning committee decided unanimously on 4 January that the proper course of action was to submit this [solicitor’s] letter to the county council.”

Helen Lynch, the county’s head of legal and democratic services, said: “We have received the letter from City of Durham Parish Council and will be considering its contents and will respond in due course.

“As a planning authority, we have very robust processes in place to ensure that all applications are considered fairly, properly and in accordance with the relevant legal requirements.”

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