Care home and houses plan on edge of village

PLANS for a residential care home and self build houses on the edge of a village have received a mixed reaction from residents.

Separate applications have been submitted to Durham County Council seeking permission for two schemes alongside each other in Byers Green, near Spennymoor.

Apex Architectural Planning wants consent to build a 49-bedroom care home on a field behind High Street and outline permission for 14 detached houses to be built on a self-build basis.

Its proposal places the two-storey home which includes 49 en-suite rooms, four lounges, a dining room , kitchen and 28 car park spaces at the centre of the 1.28 acre site with the houses arranged around it as a cul de sac.

In a statement to the council, the applicant describes the site as overgrown unused land within the village boundary and believes the access route, which would include demolition of an end terrace house and road widening works, would not adversely affect road safety.

However road safety has emerged as a key concern of residents, particularly as the development would sit on a bend in the road and close to a playground.

Around 100 people have signed a petition objecting to both applications.

It cites the main fears being the increased danger the access road would pose to children visiting the park and excessive traffic, noise and disturbance caused by the care home.

Objectors also feel the home would be out of setting in a small village and that the building on Greenfield and removal of hedges would have a dramatic affect on wildlife and residents.

However some residents welcome the proposals and hope it will lead to employment in the village, provide accommodation for older people close to their families in the Byers Green area and make use of unsightly unused scrubland.

Decisions on the applications are expected in late September.

But comments from one planning officer raise concerns about the dominance of the care home which is described as bulky with a very institutional and bland appearance and the uncertain timescale of the self build units resulting in the home being built first with no integration to the surrounding environment.

Residents fought an outline application to the former Sedgefield Borough Council for 45 houses on the same land back in 2008, which was refused by the council but subsequently allowed at appeal.

That outline consent was renewed last new with details to be submitted for approval by 2016.

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