DECISIONS on whether to allow a total of 730 new homes in a south Stockton community will be made next week.

Permission has already been granted to build 350 new houses at Low Lane, Ingleby Barwick in return for the building of a new free school.

But now Prism Planning have also applied to Stockton Borough Council’s planning committee to build a further 550 homes nearby.

The committee, who will meet at 1.30pm on Wednesday, February 26 at Stockton Central Library, will also consider a separate application to build 180 dwellings near The Rings also in Ingleby Barwick.

Planning officers at the council are recommending both schemes be approved.

The 550-home development on the 79-acre site has already been scaled back but the plan includes a proposal to build a retail centre.

A total of 44 people have objected, many complaining the work will infringe on protected green land, although two people have written to the council to support the development arguing it will bring needed investment to the area.

Ingleby Barwick Town Council has objected saying there is a lack of infrastructure and that, despite the new school, the families moving into the area would put more strain on existing schools.

Tees Archaeology said the area has high potential for containing prehistoric and Anglo-Saxon remains and should be investigated.

The council had turned down the initial proposal for the school and 350 homes but lost on appeal. Councillor Bob Cook, leader of the authority, has previously argued that housing, not a new school, was really the “main driver” for the development.

James Wharton, MP for Stockton South, said he had supported the initial development for 350 homes in order to get a new school, but the new proposal was a step too far.

He said: “We don't want any more houses in Ingleby Barwick, the problem is that Stockton Borough Council's policies have let us down and now because of their own local guidelines it is hard for them to turn anything away."

The second application for 180 new dwellings near The Rings is less controversial but eight people have objected citing traffic issues.