RESIDENTS say they are fighting to “Save West Rainton” from plans to build 150 homes in the village.

Tees Valley Housing (TVH) wants to develop open countryside off Station Road.

But villagers have launched a Save West Rainton campaign: organising leaflet drops, putting up large banners and starting a Facebook page.

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Leaders say the development would be far too big, the extra traffic would overwhelm the village and the junction with the dual carriageway A690 and local services would not cope.

Val Henderson, a West Rainton resident for 30 years, said: “The traffic would be dreadful.

“In the mornings the traffic already has to queue down Station Road so people can’t get off their drives.

“The development wouldn’t benefit the village, it would be a dormitory estate.”

The campaign has the backing of West Rainton Parish Council.

Vice-chairman Mark Gilbank said: “We completely disagree with the extra housing.

“The infrastructure of the village couldn’t take it, it would be dangerous.”

The scheme would involve putting traffic lights on the A690 junction.

TVH first announced its proposals last summer, when it wanted to build 250 homes, each with two to five bedrooms, plus shops.

The Middlesbrough-based social landlord has now scaled back its plans to 150 homes and a “small scale community hub”.

Rodger Till, the firm’s head of land and partnerships, said it had taken into account residents’ comments and “dramatically” reduced the number of homes proposed.

He said the new junction would ensure the road network, which he claimed residents had told TVR was dangerous, was “capable of accommodating any additional traffic” and would “significantly improve road safety”.

“We are working closely with providers of local amenities to help them expand their services and the additional houses will help support existing businesses in the village.

“We also want to bring new facilities to West Rainton and believe that our development will help deliver a sustainable community that has the facilities it needs to thrive long into the future,” Mr Till added.

The application is expected to go before a Durham County Council planning committee in coming months.