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Plans win the go-ahead for 88 homes on former farm site

Land North Of Rodridge Farm, Station Town, Durham. Picture Google
Land North Of Rodridge Farm, Station Town, Durham. Picture Google

Plans to build up to 88 new homes on a former farming site have been given the go ahead by councillors.

Earlier this year, proposals were submitted for land north of the former Rodridge Cottage Farm complex in Station Town.

County Hall, the headquarters of Durham County Council.

County Hall, the headquarters of Durham County Council.

The outline bid, by applicant Frankill Ltd, aims to create houses and bungalows while providing pockets of open space and a new drainage system.

Developers also proposed to provide nine affordable homes on site with final access, layout, scale and appearance reserved for later decision.

Durham County Council’s County Planning Committee were presented with preliminary drawings showing the location of homes and 15 bungalows on the site.

However, committee vice-chairman, Fraser Tinsley, raised concerns about the split between houses and bungalows, noting the seperate site entrances for both building types.

Speaking at Durham County Hall, he asked for assurances that the layout would avoid creating a “two-tier, two-class development”.

He also argued that the design of new housing developments should aim to create “sustainable communities” and foster links between different groups.

A planning officer stressed that the bungalows, which were outlined for sheltered accomodation or for over 55s, could be dispersed throughout the site with all design changes subject to council approval.

Three public objections were received during consultation with concerns ranging from the potential impact of protected species, increased congestion in the area and housing expansion into the countryside.

An applicant statement argued the site is “constrained” from an agricultural viewpoint due to its size which is “inadequate to support viable independent farming.”

It added the harm would not outweigh the “recognised social and economic benefits of the proposed new housing.”

Coun Paul Taylor criticised the lack of open spaces and narrow roads which could lead to blocked streets and cars mounting pavements.

Following discussion, the councillors approved the plans which are subject to several conditions monitoring construction and drainage.

A section 106 agreement with the developer will see £396,981 channelled into education in anticipation of rising primary school pupil numbers in the area created by the new homes.

The developer will also pay £104,157 towards open space and recreation in the Blackhalls Electoral Division as part of the planning agreement.

The farm buildings are not included in the application site and would be subject to a seperate application if developed.

Commercial agricultural activities at the farm stopped several years ago, with buildings currently used for storage of machinery and food.

For more information on the plans, visit publicaccess.durham.gov.uk/online-applications or www.durham.gov.uk