By Martin Walker
The leader of Great Aycliffe Town Council says we must avoid “unrealistic ambitions” in the light of the Durham County Plan being panned last week.
Councillor Bob Fleming (pictured above) says Aycliffe’s Neighbourhood Plan will “press on”, regardless of inspector Harold Stephens’ damning review of Durham County’s plan.
And he insists the county’s dilemma provides an opportunity for Aycliffe’s plan, which is currently ongoing.
Cllr Fleming said: “It is essential that the community of Great Aycliffe proceeds as quickly as possible with our Neighbourhood Plan, in order that our wishes for the future are not frustrated by such developments.
“The rejection of the County Plan does not stop our Neighbourhood Plan. There have been many Neighbourhood Plans written and accepted where there was not yet a County Plan.
“Indeed, the delay of the County Durham Plan is an opportunity for our Neighbourhood Plan.
“If the Neighbourhood Plan came after the County Plan, our plan would have to conform to it.
“Now, if the County Plan came after our plan, it will be expected to conform to our Neighbourhood Plan.
“We must press with our plan, but at the same time take notice of the Inspector’s perceived failings of the County Plan.
“We must avoid unrealistic ambitions. We must produce evidence to support our objectives.
“Our objectives should be justified and deliverable and the Plan must pass the Government’s soundness tests.”