NEW plans are being submitted to build 61 houses on the former Hopetown House site off Brinkburn Road.

The large site once housed the Hopetown Studios, but when the offices were fully vacated in 2008 the buildings fell derelict and became a magnet for vandals and drug-users.

They were demolished the following year and since then two planning applications from developers have been approved by Darlington Council – including one for 48 houses and 48 apartments in 2011– but the recession coupled with financial obligations tied to the site halted development.

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Despite this, Jeremy Good of England and Lyle planning consultants is confident that a new application will be submitted and building could start by the end of the year.

He said: “What is now being proposed are two, three and possibly four bedroom houses at a density which is much lower than that previously granted approval and more in keeping with the most recent housing to the north.

“One of the key issues remains the site’s viability. “The site has very high remediation costs due to the previous use.

“The previous planning application also required a considerable financial contribution towards affordable housing, open space and highway improvements, which ultimately rendered the scheme unviable.

“However, we are working with the council's planners to try and obtain a new consent, for a scheme that my clients would hope to start building by the end of the year.”

A public consultation is now taking place and residents can view outline plans online.

Cockerton East ward councillor Bryan Thistlethwaite welcomed the news and said the site had been “an eyesore” for many years.

“It can only be a good thing,” he said. “It will be lovely when it is developed because it has been a magnet in the past for children to play in and there is still a fair amount of rubble and areas where the hoardings have been tampered with by people over the years.

“It is an eyesore and any development there is bound to be welcomed by residents.

“It a case of slightly keeping your fingers crossed and hoping it comes to fruition.”

A public consultation is now taking place and residents can view outline plans at

The deadline for submitting views is February 18, but further consultation will take place as part of the planning application process if the proposal progresses.