A huge new housing development will be built near Durham despite concerns developers were overpopulating the site.
Up to 470 homes will be built on land off Sherburn Road, to the west of the A1(M) and south of the Dragonville area. Housing developers Barratt Homes and Miller Homes received outline planning approval in 2021, and after receiving further support from councillors on Tuesday, work will now begin on transforming the site.
The scheme was backed by members of Durham County Council’s planning committee, as both developers were praised for their work with local councillors and residents.
However, residents have said the proposed size of the new estate is not big enough to house the 470 homes.
John Ashby, of the City of Durham Trust, said: “The root cause of the problems with the application is trying to cram too many houses on the site. It’s now all too clear that 470 is far too many, [it] is demonstrably out of scale and this should be a robust ground for refusal. So too should the design and size of the houses.”
Cllr Christine Fletcher, of the local Belmont ward, added: “I am generally supportive of this development but have a few concerns. Whilst I am pleased to see a wide mix of homes including bungalows, I am still concerned that there are too many properties to be installed on this site.”
Yet the proposal was welcomed by councillors across the county, who said it will help transform the Durham area. Cllrs Eric and Lesley Mavin, also of the Belmont ward, both announced their support for the proposal, while Belmont Parish Council requested some changes to the application to create a housing development that is a “credit to Durham city and the developers”.
A statement from the applicants Barratt Homes and Miller Homes read: “It is considered that development of the site for 470 new homes will create new investment in the area and increased activity.
"This will have tangible economic benefits as well as assisting in tackling local issues such as anti-social behaviour, given that the new homes will offer natural surveillance through the careful orientation of the houses.”
Speaking at the meeting, Patrick Arkle, managing director at Miller Homes, added: “We’re really excited about the opportunity to create a sustainable community. Durham is a place where people aspire to live and love to visit. I believe this gateway into Durham will enhance and celebrate all that Durham stands for.”
Cllr Carl Marshall said members would be “absolutely barking mad” to vote against the proposal, given its proposed benefit to the area. “We’ve got a well-designed estate,” he added. “We need to get on and allow the developers to deliver the housing that is needed to take the county forward.”