A PROPOSAL to build 24 houses in Darlington which attracted a 75 name petition of objection has been approved.

Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee granted permission today (Wednesday, February 13) for the two and three bedroom homes to be built on recreation land between Buxton Moor Crescent and Edgemoor Road in Firthmoor.

Local campaigners had submitted the petition to the committee, exopressing concerns over flooding and the loss of the recreational area,  used by children to play football.

However, in recommending the scheme be approved, planning officer Roy Merrett said part of the land would be reinstated as a football field and the development would help boost the number of affordable homes in the town.

He said: “The key point is regarding the provision of affordable homes and there is a shortage in Darlington.”

There were a further eight letters of objection.

Edward Richardson of Buxton Moor Crescent told the commitee that more houses on the estate would lead to more flooding.

He said: “There is a beck running underneath that land, I would imagine the reason they have never built on it before is because it is a bog.

"I also think there are other places in Darlington to build that would not encroach on other houses so much.”

Mr Merrett explained that the Environment Agency had not objected to the development and that the new houses would be raised in order to minimise flood risk.

Skipton Moor Close resident Robin Bass said that would not help the houses already there: “They are not getting any higher and you are taking land away and concreting over it,” he said.

Stephen Bell, development manager for Vela homes, responded by saying measures were included in the application to reduce surface run-off and improve the drainage system.

Once built, the 24 homes will be split into ‘rent to buy’ and affordable rentals to address the shortfall in Darlington’s affordable housing provision.