PLANS have been approved to build a new development of up to 170 homes near the British Army's largest garrison - even though they were thrown out last year following local opposition.

The planning application by the Ministry of Defence to build homes for servicemen and women on a field at Catterick Garrison, to the north-east of Somme Barracks, were turned down by Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee in July last year.

Planning officers had recommended the development off Breckenbrough Lane be approved, but it provoked strong opposition from residents.

In the run-up to Richmondshire District Council's planning meeting on Wednesday, July 26, campaigners said nothing had changed with the latest plans and the MOD shouldn’t have been allowed to resubmit an application which had already been turned down without going through the formal process of an appeal.

But Richmondshire District Council said the applicant was entitled to appeal or submit another application and the new one had included the applicant’s response to refusal reasons.

On July 26 residents protesting against the plans attended the planning meeting to state their opposition, stating the greenfield site chosen was rich in wildlife and that there were other brownfield sites in Catterick Garrison better suited to such a development.

Concerns were also raised about traffic and the potential for overwhelming already stretched resources in the town such as the school, GP surgery and infrastructure.

But the plans were approved by planning committee, seven votes to three. Three independent councillors voted against the plans.

Planning officers stated in their report that the proposal was not in conflict with the Development Plan and there were no other sites available to meet the current need.

Speaking after the meeting,a spokesman for the residents, Paul Simpson, said the strong feeling in the town against the plans still remained. “People feel that the council and the MoD have acted together to push this through. There’s a feeling of distrust towards the council and the MoD,” he said.

He added that they still felt there was a large amount of brownfield land where the estate could have been built within Catterick Garrison.

“I don’t think any of us object to the fact that soldiers need to live in the garrison and they need housing. What we object to is they are going to slice away a seriously large area of countryside when they could be building houses elsewhere.”