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Housing proposed on old Middlestone Moor school field
PLANS to build new houses on a playing field near Spennymoor are being opposed by residents and sports organisations.
Durham Villages Regeneration Company has applied to Durham County Council for permission to build 48 houses on the former Middlestone Moor School fields.
The school was replaced with housing in 2006 after which its old fields were laid out as a football pitch, though the goalposts have since been removed.
Now DVRC, a partnership between builders Keepmoat and Durham County Council, wants to develop the 1.43 hectare site off South View and Highcroft.
It proposes building ten two-bedroom and 38 three-bedroom houses, seven of which would be social rented properties. The scheme includes associated roads, paths and garages with access off South View.
Sport England, the Government agency for sports development, has objected fearing it would worsen a shortage of playing fields in the area which is already hampering local football development.
While considering the application, Sport England consulted the Football Association which also objects unless the playing field is replaced.
The FA said that while the site has been out of action for a while that is not due to a lack of need and said there is a shortage of junior and mini pitches, with a club in nearby Byers Green in constant contact with Durham FA about the problem.
DVRC’s agent, Queensberry Design, states the playing field is of poor quality, with little scope to improve and that plan incorporates 2,924sq m of public open space which is more than required within a development of its size.
Residents have also objected and their arguments include the overdevelopment of the Spennymoor area for housing, the need to protect and improve sport and recreation facilities along with potential traffic problems, loss of privacy and views.
In a letter to the council, one couple wrote: “What was once a green area is now a built-up urban area and we have lost what was once a village.”
And another resident wrote: “This field should be left alone or put to better use for sport or recreation use for future generations.”
Queensberry Design says the scheme would integrate with its surroundings and increase the already rising standard of the neighbourhood.
Consultation on the planning application ends on April 3.
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