COUNTY councillors have approved plans for a new bungalow on the edge of a village, despite a parish council's opposition.

Durham County Council's northern area planning committee passed an outline planning application from James Rewbury to build on land next to Fern Meadows, Waldridge Village, Chester-le-Street.

Waldridge Parish Council and three residents lodged objections amid fears that an existing parking problem would be made worse.

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But planning officials recommended that the plan be approved and councillors agreed.

Committee chairman Carl Marshall said the parish council had held talks with the applicant.

Although it had not withdrawn its objection it had not sent a representative to put its views to the committee.

Planning officer Fiona Clarke said the development was considered acceptable and that highways chiefs had not objected

Coun Alan Shields said parking was raised an issue in most planning applications.

But he added: "I see nothing to object to with this application and I would more than happy to back the officer's recommendation."

A report to the committee said that the proposed dwelling was likely to be a three-bedroom dormer bungalow, but details had not been finalised.

Waldridge Parish Council raised objections to the scheme after receiving lots of complaints.

“There is a severe shortage of car parking in this part of the village," the council said.

“It is felt that the proposed dwelling would impact on parking provision, as on-street parking places used by residents each night would be lost to allow sufficient space for a vehicle to access and leave the drive of the proposed dwelling.

“Also as the development would go right to the road, cars would not be able to park up on the development side of the road anymore.

“The parish council has received lots of complaints from residents about village parking provision and the police have been called out to resolve disputes around this issue. The lack of parking is a live issue in the village.”

Councillors were told that the applicant said in a statement to the council that the parking “is outside of, and not affected by, this proposed development.

“The proposed bungalow has provision for off street parking of up to four private vehicles so does not exacerbate the perceived problem of parking.

“The proposed bungalow does not limit parking, access/egress from existing or the proposed bungalow.”

The report added:“Access issues to the property and the impact on on-street parking within the village have been considered and the submitted plan has been amended in an attempt to address the concerns raised.

“Overall the proposal is considered an appropriate form of development.”