SuDS+ enters the design phase

The SuDS+ visioning phase is now complete as efforts focus on bringing community-led ideas to life.

What did we do in 2023?

2023 was all about community visioning for SuDS+. Engagement events took place throughout the year to determine what residents and businesses like about the Stanley South area and what they want to see improved. We asked the Stanley South community to vote on their preferred visions, identify strengths and issues in the area, and map areas for improvement and investment.

  With your help, and Stanley the Raindrop, the SuDS+ project has

  • Run three participatory workshops, two walking tours, and 19 pop-up/walk-in events across seven community venues in the study area.
  • Mapped over 60 flooding locations using community observations and photographs.
  • Gathered 383 ideas for improvement from the community and mapped them.
  • Generated 12 community-led SuDS+ concepts.
  • Posted 9000+ leaflets to properties and businesses.
  • Delivered over 30 SuDS themed lessons in 7 primary schools in the SuDS+ educational programme.
  • Run a ‘Get into STEM’ event involving 150 secondary school students.
  • Completed 11 conservation tasks with volunteers over 26 days.
  • Completed 6 litter picks with volunteers and local organisations.
  • Installed three rain gauges to help characterise local rainfall patterns.
  • Facilitated collaborative working across multiple council departments.
  • Engaged with the local MP and councillors.
  • Supported and inspired environment, engineering, business, built environment and computer science university students with their studies.
  • Increased our reach via Facebook (6000+) and website visitors (1000+).
  • Shared the SuDS+ methodology with the UK Parliament via a call for evidence around increasing access to urban green spaces.
  • Launched the SuDS+ innovation forum.
  • Shared our work on SuDS+ at local, national and international conferences and meetings.

You can read more about these individual achievements and milestones on our news page

Identifying sites for action in 2024

With the help of the community, we collected 383 locations where people would like to see improvement or investment across the project area. These ideas have been blended together. Using information collected from different stakeholders, flood observations shared by the community, and specialist flood risk data. This enabled our team to identify 12 locations where SuDS+ could focus. On building new infrastructure, make environmental improvements, whilst delivering multiple benefits set out by the local community.

Map showing 12 short-listed SuDS+ concepts which the community voted on in Nov-Dec 2023.

The community voted on these 12 ideas via online and in-person voting in November and December 2023. Unfortunately, this did not generate many votes (only 141 in fact), so there were no clear ‘winners’ from the ideas to take forward. The ideas which promoted the maintenance and improvement of existing open spaces and assets were generally more popular than other ideas though.

What to expect in 2024

Now that 2024 is well under way, we have moved into the design and implementation phases of the project. All the voting results, the 12 concepts, and all the feedback provided to us over the last year, have been passed over to Durham County Council. They lead the SuDS+ project as they will be carrying out the design and construction work. The project team will bring together all of the information gathered by the project, alongside specialist surveys of flood risk and ground conditions, to identify which of the sites identified should be the focus of construction. You’ll see the project team out and about across the study area undertaking further surveys to understand the sites in detail.

Once we have decided which of the sites are practical and which are able to create the most benefits, the Stanley South community will have opportunities to help with the design process. This ensures that what is constructed helps meet their needs and aspirations identified during the visioning process. Our educational programme is expected to continue with the local schools and more monitoring devices will be installed to better understand the local weather and water environment.

Get involved

If you would like to get involved in the SuDS+ design process, monitoring activities or conservation tasks, please contact us directly or keep an eye out for opportunities advertised on our website and Facebook page.

You can also continue to share you flood observations using our online portal here:

Our first volunteering activity of 2024 is pond dipping and urban Riverfly monitoring taking place from 10am on Friday 2nd February. Organised on World Wetlands Day the fun activities will showcase the creatures living in the wetland areas near the source of the Stanley Burn. We will be meeting in South Moor Park to walk to the site. If you would like to attend register for the Wear Rivers Trust volunteer app using the following link Wear Rivers Trust promoting and developing volunteering in your area. A TeamKinetic powered website

Big thank you!

The SuDS+ team would like to thank all participants and community venues for their involvement, enthusiasm, and continued support to date. We could not do this without you!

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One Comment

  1. I really enjoyed the work and getting involved with all the work and it was very interesting to hear what SuSDS done and looking forward to see what’s work is next for 2024 thankyou

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