VILLAGERS have applauded councillors who voted to refuse a planning application which would have increased their community by a third.

The move comes after planners agreed last year that an £18m power plant would be built at Thorpe Thewles – a village of 182 homes near Stockton.

A separate application to build 25 homes in the area described as “quiet and quaint” by residents was also approved by Stockton Borough Council earlier this year.

However, Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham was joined by more than 190 people objecting to a further development proposed to build another 40 homes on the edge of Thorpe Thewles.

Concerns were raised by several residents addressing councillors during a planning meeting on Wednesday, where issues of infrastructure, narrow roads and unlit footpaths were heard.

The development was rejected on the grounds that Thorpe Thewles could not support an influx of families moving to the area in need of shops, schools and amenities.

Mr Cunningham welcomed the decision and said: “I was pleased to back local people in fighting this and am delighted the planning committee have decided to reject this development.

“I strongly believe that the infrastructure is not there to be able to support further housing – the area is already in need of increased services and provisions without more homes and people living there.

“We have got to protect our villages from overdevelopment.

“It’s just two years since the council said the Thorpe Thewles was an unsustainable village and to add even more houses to the area would have put extra strain on the very limited services there.”