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Residents' joy as Durham housing scheme thrown out
PLANS to build up to 54 homes on open land on the edge of a housing estate have been thrown out by councillors.
Durham County Council planning officials had recommended a scheme for houses on land between Willowtree Avenue and Belmont Road, in Gilesgate Moor, Durham City, should be given outline planning permission.
However, the council’s central and east area planning committee rejected the proposal, which would have extended the High Grange Estate, by six votes to three.
The vote was followed by applause from the dozens of residents who had turned up at County Hall to witness the debate.
Speaking afterwards, Barbara Howarth, chair of Belmont Parish Council’s planning committee, said she was very pleased at the outcome.
She said site was inappropriate for development and the scheme was too dense and would have increased traffic in an already busy area.
During the debate, Les Thomson, a former county councillor, said developers had been refused permission to build on the site four times since 1973 – and there had been two failed appeals – and the latest scheme was even greater and even less sustainable than those, so he was at a loss why it had been recommended for approval.
Mr Thomson said he had been knocked down in the area and more traffic would threaten residents’ quality of life and safety.
Jill Davis, for the developer, said the 3.5-acre plot lay within the development limits of the Durham City Local Plan and represented an “infill site”.
John McGargill, from the council’s highways section, said Belmont Road took 13,000 vehicle movements per day, or 700 per hour at peak times, and he expected the proposed development to add only 35 two-way trips, which he described as not having a “significant material impact” on the situation.
However, Belmont county councillor Patrick Conway, a member of the committee, raised concerns over increased traffic and moved rejecting the scheme, a motion seconded by Coun David Freeman.
Bill Moir, another Belmont councillor, had already objected to the proposals. Fourteen objection letters had also been received from residents.
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