A MEETING to determine whether contaminated land earmarked for a controversial school and sports centre can be registered as a village green has been postponed.

It was initially thought Durham County Council’s Highways Committee would decide on the application from Consett Green Spaces Group this Thursday.

The application is one of the hurdling blocks in the way of a £44m academy schools and leisure centre on the Belle Vue site in Consett town centre.

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But today, (Monday, January 14) Durham County Council said it will now be held next month instead.

A spokesman said: “We only got the inspector’s report back over Christmas so to let both parties have the chance to respond we have decided to put back the meeting.”

It means plans to discuss the development, which has divided the town, at planning committee level on February 5 have also been postponed.

Over Christmas, opponents learned that councillors who will make the decision have been urged to reject their application by a planning inspector.

Councillor Owen Temple, one of many who prefer the former steelworks site for the development has accused the council of burying a report revealing mercury, asbestos and carbon monoxide present in the former mine workings.

The council has said it is following normal procedures.