WORK to build 350 new homes in Yarm will start “very shortly,” a housing developer has said.

Permission to grant the building of homes at Morley Carr Farm, over a gas pipe which exploded in 1971, was given in 2012 but has been controversial.

In the Yarm and Eaglescliffe alone area permission to build 2,000 homes has been granted since 2011, with hundreds more planned for nearby Ingleby Barwick.

No serious house-building has taken place however as demand has been sluggish since with economic downturn of 2008.

There have also been rumours the gas pipe has prevented developers Taylor Wimpey from building the homes after all.

But now Mark Leigh, managing director for Taylor Wimpey North Yorkshire, has confirmed work will finally start.

He said: “We are pleased to confirm that the development at Morley Carr Farm will commence very shortly. Our scheme includes the provision of a brand-new section of pipeline to a significantly upgraded specification from the present pipeline that runs through the western portion of the site.”