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Planning for decline: the 'D'-village policy of County Durham, UK

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From the 1930s to the 1970s the contraction of the coal mining industry in County Durham in northern England was followed closely by plans to abolish many of the settlements that had supported the mining population. This article examines the development of the policies that were used to classify villages for demolition, the local resistance that developed in defence of the villages and the justifications provided in support of this policy. The bulk of the research is based on archived contemporary newspaper reporting of the events as they happened. Through this approach it is possible to document the course of popular opposition to planning policies. The policy was wide ranging, with 121 villages designated as category 'D', meaning that they were to be demolished. This paper examines the local response in specific case study localities, showing that the main tensions were between the economic concerns and aesthetic appraisal of policy makers and community-based perceptions of social relations and the environment. The paper suggests that the legacy of the 'D'-village policy continued until relatively recently in the minds of planners and residents in Durham's ex-mining localities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Policy Division Environmental Services County Hall, Colliton Park Dorchester Dorset UK (), Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2004-07-01

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