Phil defended in Parliament the aspiration, ambition and confidence embedded in the Durham Plan drawn up by the Labour-controlled council - and he calls on the inspector's final report to let the plan go ahead.
MPS from the region have spoken up in defence of the County Durham Plan after it was rejected by an independent inspector. A local government minister has also backed the plan’s “ambition” and said the Government was “fully committed” to growth in the region.
The parliamentary debate was secured by Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson following last month’s report from inspector Harold Stephens, which said the County Durham Plan had “serious shortcomings”.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Wilson said: “Perhaps in the past, the people of Durham cowered because of the problems we faced. Now, the Labour-controlled council shows that we have the aspiration, ambition and confidence to move on from those days. We just want others to have the confidence in us; that is all we are asking for.“That is why I call on the inspector’s final report to acknowledge that ambition, not to downplay the economic potential of County Durham, and let the plan go ahead.”
Durham County Council’s plan to create 30,000 jobs and 31,400 new homes was sent back to the drawing board by the inspector, who said it was flawed and unrealistic.
The projection of creating 30,000 jobs by 2030 was called into question, but Mr Wilson said they were based on the same formula as Government projections for creating 50,000 jobs in the North East by 2020.
(The full story is published in the Teesdale Mercury on 15 March 2015 and it can be found here: http://www.teesdalemercury.co.uk/Articles/2015/inspector-who-rejected-county-durham-plan-under-fire-from-mps#sthash.2fjMUIZm.dpuf.)