NEIGHBOURS living close to a vacant plot of land in a conservation area have objected to plans to build one-bedroom flats on the site.

Developer England and Lyle have applied to Darlington Borough Council to build four flats and a one-bedroom cottage on land to the rear of Hill Garth, in Cockerton, close to Cockerton Green.

The flats would be housed in a two-storey block, while the cottage would be 1.5 storeys, with parking available on the highway in the adjacent Prior Street.

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A previous application to develop the site, for three terraced family homes, was rejected by planners in 2005 on the grounds that there was inadequate parking, pedestrian and service access.

Consultation with people living in nearby properties resulted in 16 letters of objection to the plans and one letter of support.

Objections included a loss of privacy, access and parking problems, overdevelopment of the site and its impact on the conservation area.

No objections were raised by statutory bodies, including highways, the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water, although the architectural liaison officer from Durham Police commented that the occupants of one-bedroom flats “may cause conflict with existing residents”.

In a report prepared for planning committee, the council’s planning officers state that the proposed buildings have been designed to fit in with other buildings in Cockerton’s conservation area and that conditions would be used to ensure similar building materials are used.

Addressing the lack of off-street parking for the site the council officers quote national guidance which states that it is not always necessary to provide parking on-site.

The report continues: “A number of properties in the locality have no off-street parking, therefore this scenario is not uncommon to the area.

“The parking areas on Prior Street are used by parents of the nearby local school but the parking times of the parents and the occupiers of the proposed dwellings would differ and therefore the two users should coexist adequately.

“It is considered that the occupiers of the revised proposal would not be as reliant on the private car as the previous proposal for three family homes that was dismissed on appeal in 2005.”

The plans will be discussed by members of the council’s planning committee on Wednesday, May 7.