SEDGEFIELD residents have launched a petition demanding all decisions relating to future housing in the town are postponed until the voice of the community is heard.

Sedgefield Residents’ Forum is asking Durham County Council to hold off making any judgements on proposed housing developments until the topic is fully explored within the forthcoming Sedgefield Plan.

It follows an application by Story Homes to build 113 new properties on land to the west of Stockton Road and south of Eden Drive.

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The development would comprise a mixture of two, three, four and five bedroom properties, including affordable homes, on the site, which was identified as being suitable for around 450 homes in the council’s Pre-submission Draft Local Plan.

Earlier this month, the Sedgefield Plan Steering Group revealed only one percent of those who responded to a recent community survey were in favour of large scale developments.

Sedgefield Residents Forum believes the steering group should be given a chance to carry out further research on where the community would locate new development if they have to go ahead.

Julia Bowles, chairwoman of the forum, said: “We object to the Eden Drive site because it forms a barrier of green space at the entrance to Sedgefield.

“If there has to be new housing in our village, the residents should have a say on where it is. The voice of the community should not be ignored.”

When complete, the Sedgefield Plan will be a statutory document that Durham County Council must consider when determining planning applications.

At a recent public meeting about the plan, housing dominated discussions, with many residents enraged by a vision to create up to 2,000 homes.

Story Homes’ detailed proposal is linked to a separate outline application by the Durham Diocese Board of Finance for 300 homes on the site.

The wider scheme would retain the view of St Edmund’s Church and see the creation of a new link road from the A689/A177 roundabout.

Before submitting the plans, the applicants held a two-day public exhibition and distributed 2,500 leaflets outlining their proposals.

Story Homes describes the development as a “considerate and exciting” scheme that it believes will become a “positive addition to the area.”

However, residents say it would spoil the rural character of the town, put pressure on local amenities and cause traffic congestion and parking problems.

The residents’ petition is available to sign at Tickety-Boo on Sedgefield High Street.