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Skerningham Garden Village design code SPD

Consultation December 2022 to January 2023 - Now closed

A second round of public consultation on the draft Design Code for Skerningham Garden Village ran from 14 December 2022 to 13 January 2023. 

Comments that were made during the consultation can be viewed on the Consultation portal [external link]

The Skerningham Garden Village Design Code 2nd consultation version [pdf document] can still be viewed on the portal.

After changes were made to the document as a result of the responses from the first consultation in autumn 2022, Cabinet agreed to hold a second consultation to make sure views of residents on the updated document are heard.

Once formally agreed, the design code will be a material planning consideration in determining planning applications and will ensure that Skerningham Garden Village will be developed to a high-quality standard.


Previous consultation September to October 2022

The consultation on the Draft Design Code SPD for Skerningham Garden Village began on Friday 9 September and ended on Monday 17 October 2022.

Comments that were made during the consultation can be viewed on theportal.

The Draft Skerningham Design Code SPD was approved by Cabinet on Tuesday 6 September.

Cabinet Agenda report

The Skerningham Garden Village Design Code 1st consultation version [pdf document] sets out the strategic design requirements that need to be applied in developing a successful scheme for Skerningham.

The design code is required as part of the recently adopted Darlington Local Plan (Policy H10) and reflects the requirements in government guidance.

It sets out a design process and design principles for developers to follow when preparing their plans for a new Garden Village.  The approach aims to create a distinctive, attractive and successful Garden Community in which to live and work, which is sustainable for the future.

Healthy Living is also an important thread in the statutory approvals process.

Darlington was successful as being selected as being a Healthy New Towns pilot town.

This proposed Garden Village presents the first large scale opportunity to embed learning from the Healthy New Towns programme into delivering health care and a healthy built environment.

SPD’s add further details to the policies in the Local Plan.

They can be used to provide further guidance for development on specific sites, or on particular issues such as design.

They can be a material consideration in planning decisions.

The Draft Skerningham Design Code SPD, if adopted by the Council, will be a material planning consideration in determining planning applications.


Skerningham Garden Village is an area of land to the north of Darlington which has been earmarked in the council’s Local Plan for housing and community facilities.

This page details the next steps for Skerningham and how you can get involved in the shaping of this development.

Skerningham Area Map

The Local Plan inspector has agreed the proposal in the Local Plan that up to 1,650 houses and facilities such as a GP surgery and schools could be built during the plan period up to 2036.

Beyond that date, there is scope for additional housing.

It is not envisaged that this will be a “sea of new houses”, rather a series of defined hamlets/clusters of houses with open areas between each, giving residents and visitors the chance to enjoy access to green spaces.

The inspector ruled that, before any developers can submit planning applications, the council must create and adopt a design code.

We have commissioned an independent organisation called DesigNE [external link] who will work with residents over the coming months to develop a design code for Skerningham.

What is a design code

A design code sets out expectations about the look and feel of a development to make sure a new estate reflects local character and preferences.

The design code could include:

  • The future look and feel of buildings, encouraging the best of modern design and build techniques
  • Provision of green spaces and biodiversity including protecting existing landscapes
  • Design of streets to encourage outdoor play and recreation
  • Road safety features and cycleways and footpaths
  • Climate change features such as renewable energy

The design code will ensure that Skerningham Garden Village will be developed to a high-quality standard.

You can see an example of how a local design code in Darlington could work here:

Greater Faverdale design code [pdf document].

What will a design code do

Once agreed, the design code will become part of a supplementary planning document (SPD).

The SPD is a legally binding/enforceable document that can be enforced/used by the council to ensure any planning application follows the design code and the principles it sets out.

How can you get involved with shaping the design code

This is your chance to help shape the development of this area.

There will be three face to face sessions.

Initial explanatory session

This took place on Thursday 24 March 2022 at 17:30 - 19:00.

Watch what took place at the initial session.

Relevant documents

Follow up workshops

Follow up workshops were held on:

  • 26/04/2022 - Oban Court Care Home, Whinfield, 18:00 - 20:00
  • 28/04/2022 - Harrowgate Hill WMC, 18:00 - 20:00
  • 19/05/2022 - Harrowgate Hill WMC, 18:30 - 20:30
  • 09/06/2022 - Harrowgate Hill WMC, 18:30 - 20:30
  • 30/06/2022 - Harrowgate Hill WMC, 18:30 - 20:30 

Who can get involved

Anyone who lives or works in Darlington, young or old, is welcome to get involved in the development of the Skerningham design code, particularly those who live close to the area.

  • If you live close to the area to be developed at Skerningham we would encourage you get involved in the development of the design code to ensure that the things you feel are important (relates to existing development, key local features etc are recognised in the code.)
  • If you live or work in Darlington young or old, we encourage you to get involved.
  • If you have moved into new development in Darlington in the last few years, we welcome your involvement. Your recent experience of your new area including your anonymous views on what is good about your place and what could have been better will be invaluable as we shape the Skerningham design code.
  • If you are a young person who may be looking to live in the Garden Village in the future and wants to influence its quality
  • If you are an employer in Darlington and are keen to ensure a good supply of quality places to attract new employees to the town.

What is the timescale of the design code

We are aiming to have the design code agreed and part of the supplementary planning document (SPD) by Autumn 2022.

  • Public consultation on the design code will begin on 24 March 2022 and end in late Spring 2022
  • Feedback from this consultation will be reviewed and included in the draft design code
  • The draft design code will be put before cabinet to agree a consultation SPD 
  • Once agreed by cabinet/council the design code will become a SPD

Public Workshops

The first public workshops have now taken place:

  • Workshop 1A took place on Tuesday 26th April 2022 at Oban Court Care Home, Whinfield.
  • Workshop 1B took place on Thursday 28th April 2022 at Harrogate Club and Institute.

Workshop 1A and 1B PowerPoint presentation [pdf document]

Post-it feedback responses for both events


Follow-up Workshops

Workshops have been held on:

  • Thursday 19 May 2022, at Harrowgate Club and Institute, from 18:30 – 20:30.
  • Thursday 9 June 2022, at Harrowgate Club and Institute, from 18:30 – 20:30.
  • Thursday 30 June 2022, at Harrowgate Club and Institute, from 18:30 – 20:30.

Outputs from the workshops can be found on DesigNE [external link].

If you have not already registered your interest and wish to be involved in the Public Engagement process and attend one of the forthcoming workshops, please email: [email protected]  Or call:  01325 406724 .

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