RESIDENTS of a Darlington village say they will continue their fight against ‘unsuitable’ housing developments in their area after an application for 250 homes was turned down by the council.

The application submitted by developer Gladman for an estate on Sadberge Road, on the outskirts of Middleton St George, was refused by officers at Darlington Borough Council on the grounds that it would damage the rural character of the village.

Dozens of objections to the plans had been submitted by local people, who say the village does not have the facilities to cope with a huge influx of houses.

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The refusal to grant outline planning permission for the Sadberge Road site follows the earlier rejection of an application for 76 homes on a green field site on Middleton Lane, which had also attracted complaints from local people.

Gladman Developments has the right to appeal to the planning inspectorate against the decision.

In a report explaining their decision, made under delegated powers, planning officers at Darlington Borough Council said: “The application site currently acts as a ‘green’ undeveloped barrier between the main village of Middleton St George and the open countryside beyond the A67.

“It is considered that the loss of this visual relief to development beyond, to be replaced with some 250 dwellings, will form an unacceptable diminution in rural character of the locality.

“The applicant suggests that an aging population could adversely affect the sustainability of services in the village and that the proposed development could go some way towards mitigating this.

“The council is not aware that any of the services in the village are under threat of closure due to lack of demand and understands local people think that the settlement is underprovided for the population it now accommodates.”

Councillor Doris Jones, ward member for Middleton St George, said the decision was “absolutely fantastic” but that residents would not rest on their laurels.

She said: “We fully expect the developer to go to an appeal. We are still poised with our pens waiting to write more letters to the planning inspector.

“We’ve got to keep up the momentum because these applications are totally unsuitable for our village.”