PLANS have been unveiled for a £45m housing development that will create more than 400 family homes and support 130 jobs.

The Diocese of Durham and house-builder Story Homes are submitting two linked applications for 415 new houses on land near Eden Drive in Sedgefield.

If approved, the scheme would also see the creation of a new link road between Stockton Road and the A689, which the developers say will provide safe access to the town.

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However, not all residents welcome the plans, with one objector describing Sedgefield as “under siege.”

In the emerging County Durham Plan, Durham County Council has identified the 42 acre site as suitable for a housing development of this size.

But Julia Bowles, chair of Sedgefield Resident Forum, said many residents disagreed with the allocation.

“We simply do not have the infrastructure to support all these new homes,” she said.

“We won’t be able to cope. Parking in the village is already a major problem and traffic is a concern too.

“The schools are full and the doctor’s surgery is doing its best but there are only so many patients they can see.”

Mrs Bowles said she feared the development would encourage applications for similar schemes.

“We have no guarantee 400 houses will be the limit,” she said.

“I feel Sedgefield is under siege and I, like many other residents, believe we should fight to protect the character of the village.”

Yesterday (Thursday, January 30), planning consultants Smiths Gore and Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP), who are handling the schemes on the applicants’ behalf, held a public exhibition at Ceddesfeld Hall to give residents a chance to view the plans.

NLP Associate Director Neil Westwick said: “The proposals aim to deliver new family housing for Sedgefield with the provision for ten per cent of the development to be affordable homes.

“In terms of the benefits to the local economy the development will create and support 130 construction jobs, provide a multi-million pound boost to the local economy and deliver a New Homes Bonus of £4m to Durham County Council.”

The proposals will also retain a key view through the site to the Grade I listed St Edmund Church.

A second consultation event will take place at the same venue from 9am to noon tomorrow (Saturday, February 1).