PLANS to build 22 homes in Durham City have been given the go-ahead by councillors despite objections from local residents.

Durham County Council’s area planning committee endorsed plans by Persimmon Homes to develop the five-bedroom executive houses on land off Potters Bank.

The plan met with opposition from residents, with 17 letters highlighting concerns over an increase in traffic, overdevelopment of the site, fears of access and flooding, as well as the loss of trees and wildlife.

One neighbouring family said they had no objections to the plans in principal, but there were concerns about the overbearing impact on their property.

Barney Corrigan, speaking on behalf of the Best family, said: “The land rises quite rapidly to the south, away from Potters Bank and behind the Orchard.

“The developer has chosen - rather than re-engineer the site and stepping it up gradually - to raise the level of the plot immediately to the south of the Orchard, with a 10ft high retaining wall.

“What that results in, with the dwelling house built on top of that, is a really overbearing impact on the Orchard which will have a substantial impact on the residential amenity.”

Mr Corrigan said the objections could be easily dealt with if the developer re-engineered the site and he called on the committee to defer its decision.

Persimmon divisional planning director Peter Jordan said one of the first things he did was consider its impact on the Orchard.

He said it was agreed with planning officers to place a dwelling with a low impact at the site and set it back by a distance of 35m, which he said was “almost treble what the council’s national prescribed standard is”.

He added: “We believe we have got the balance right.”

Principal planning officer James Taylor, who recommended approval, said issues of traffic and dangerous access had been addressed by highways officers who found the development to be acceptable.

He said: “We feel this is a sustainable site, of a low density of 11.5 dwellings per hectare, reflecting the surrounding developments.”

The normal requirement of four affordable houses on the site will be met by a financial contribution from the developer of £460,000 toward off-site provision in the Durham City area, while further contribution of £ 22,000 will be made to recreational facilities and £20,000 toward public art.