FAMILY homes are to be built on the site of a disused factory which has been branded an "eyesore" by planners.

Gleeson Developments were yesterday (THURS) given the go-ahead to build 76 homes on the former Lamplas factory site at Leadgate, near Consett.

But councillors insisted on extra sound proofing for homes nearest existing businesses as a condition of planning permission.

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Developers were granted permission to build 11 two-bedroom semis, 47 three-bedroom semis, 14 three-bedroom detached and four four-bedroom detached homes on the site.

The 1.9-hectare site, which sits between Pont Bungalows and Bradley Bungalows, has been vacant since the caravan parts manufacture moved its business to new premises at Castleside.

Senior planning officer Colin Harding told members of Durham County Council’s Area Planning Committee (North) that: "The site is in some disrepair and could be considered to be an eyesore in its present condition."

However the committee, meeting at County Hall, in Durham, heard than an objection had been lodged by one of a number of small firms adjacent to the development, worried that, in future, homeowners could object to the noise generated by the existing businesses.

Despite the concerns, officials recommended the application by approved. Mr Harding told the meeting: "On balance, we think that in this instance it is unlikely there would be significant impact on the operation of existing businesses."

Coun Barbara Armstrong proposed a condition be imposed on planning permission, requiring the developers install enhanced sound proofing measures for those houses nearest the existing businesses.

She said: "I am a little bit concerned about the noise, not only for the businesses but for the people who want to buy the houses and the company selling them".

Local councillor Alan Shield said he was pleased the development was going ahead, but asked council officers to investigate whether the adjacent road which linked Watling Street with Pont Lane should now qualify for additional winter gritting.

He said the road was currently a Priority Two route, but questioned whether it should be upgraded to Priority One given that it would now be used by up to an extra 150 cars Coun Shield said: "In this particular area, when we have had bad weather the road hasn’t been completely blocked, but it has had serious issues".

The application was granted conditional planning permission on a unanimous vote.