COUNCILLORS are being recommended to grant planning permission for the latest phase of the former Consett steelworks site redevelopment.

Durham County Council’s county planning committee will consider the proposdals to build at Berry Edge when it meets on Tuesday, March 4 at County Hall in Durham.

Before councillors will be an outline application to develop 23.8 hectares south of Genesis Way with up to 480 energy-efficient houses and bungalows, parking space, shops, a boulevard , play area, and landscaping.

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The multi-million pound scheme would entail re-aligning the C2C cycle path, which passes through the site, but its creator Sustrans does not object.

Detailed planning is being sought to build 30 Durham Aged Miners Homes Association bungalows as part of the redevelopment.

The committee will hear on Tuesday that statutory consultees have raised no objection to the scheme but 13 letters opposing the plan have been received from people living nearby.

Their concerns include the loss of open space, noise and visual impact, increased traffic, a potential flood risk, potential stirring up of asbestos and a reduction in property values.

They also say a country park was promised and that the site should become a botanic garden or nature reserve.

Applicant Project Genesis, a joint venture by Dysart Developments and the county council, says there is a need for the housing and that the scheme will bring “significant economic benefits to the local and wider community”.

A report by senior planning officer Ann Rawlinson says: “The application site is considered to be a suitable and sustainable location for housing being adjacent the edge of the main town of Consett and having regard to the range of facilities and services available, as well as access to public transport."

She adds: “Adequate drainage to the public sewer would be provided, flood risk would not be increased elsewhere.”

Permission is recommended with conditions including the provision of 72 affordable homes for rent and sale, a £144,000 contribution towards recreation and payment of £10,000 for bus stops on the nearby A692.

Over the last decade a range of development has been constructed on the wider site, including a retail park, business/industrial premises, housing, pubs and restaurants , a new Tesco store and an extension to the town’s urban park