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Controversial housing development at Gilesgate Moor, Durham, to be place under spotlight
CONTROVERSIAL plans for a major housing development on a greenfield site on the outskirts of Durham City will come under the spotlight on Tuesday.
Durham County Council planning officers have recommended that outline permission be granted for 54 units on land to the north of Willowtree Avenue, Gilesgate Moor - despite overwhelming objections from nearby residents.
The authority’s area planning committee meeting (central and east Durham) will be also be asked to approve access to the site from the road between Willowtree Avenue and Broomside Lane.
Planning permission for homes on the site has been refused five times since 1973, with two appeals dismissed.
Belmont Parish Council has objected to the latest application on the basis of previous refusals and on the grounds that residents do not want more housing in the area.
Letters of objection have been lodged by residents of 14 addresses. Among their concerns are that the development would spoil the green approach to Durham City, with increased traffic on already busy junctions causing disruption to motorists from the High Grange Estate at peak times.
There are also concerns over drainage, old mine workings and the potential for three-storey buildings that could overshadow existing housing.
The development will comprise dwellings with a mix of four, three and two-bedroom houses and single-bedroom apartments.
In his submission, applicant David Hutchinson of Brancepeth Village, near Durham, argues the site is included in the County Durham local plan as a preferred housing site.
He says the largely two-storey homes on the 1.49 hectare site will be accessed by a cul de sac, with footways on both sides.
The northern part of the site will remain undeveloped to keep a required distance from overhead lines.
Recommending approval, planning officers acknowledge the land’s loss for development would “alter the character of the area at a local level”.
However, they add, “to a large extent, development of the site could be read as a relatively logical extension of the existing developed area, which could be considered to round off the settled area which is hemmed in by Broomside Lane and the A690 and its slip roads”.
Highways chiefs have no objections.
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