A PARISH council has agreed to object to an application to create a private Gypsy site on the edge of a village, on the grounds that it could "open the floodgates" to further developments.

Sadberge Parish Council heard from a number of residents who raised a number of concerns about the site, which lies off Middleton Road, next to the A66 flyover.

A Gypsy family who own the land, previously used for grazing horses, have entered retrospective planning permission to change the use of the land so that they can live permanently on the site, with two touring caravans and an auxiliary building.

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A statement prepared on behalf of the applicant, to be submitted to Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee, states that the family is looking to create a settled base in the area to allow their three young children to go to school.

The statement adds that the caravans would not be prominent or intrusive in the local landscape and also points out that there is an absence of Gypsy sites in Darlington and that the family has a personal need for accommodation.

At the parish council meeting, a number of residents spoke against the application, arguing that it would have a visual impact on people living nearby, would be detrimental to the character of the village and could cause traffic issues on a busy road.

One resident said: “There is a huge contrast between what they are proposing and the character of Sadberge as a village. It could be seriously detrimental to the village.

“I would also imagine that if it’s granted then it would make it easier for future applications to be granted – this is the thin edge of the wedge.”

No date has yet been set for the application to be determined by the planning committee.