OBJECTIONS have been raised over plans to convert farmland near Hurworth into an accommodation complex for vulnerable young people.

An application has been made to Darlington Borough Council for six log cabins at Green Lane Farm, in Neasham Road.

The development would include supported accommodation for vulnerable young people and families, the conversion of an existing outbuilding into a manager's office, as well as associated landscaping, access and car parking.

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Council planning officers are considering the application which is expected to come before the planning committee later this year.

England and Lyle, the Darlington-based consultants acting on behalf of the applicants, acknowledged in papers submitted to the planning authority that the proposal is outside the borough's development area and 'do not constitute a form of development that would normally be supported in open countryside'.

It adds: "The proposed log cabins will be used as part of a facility that will provide supported accommodation for primarily vulnerable pregnant women, unsupported mothers and young families.

"[It] will be managed by the applicant in association with Reach Out Care's supported housing charity.

"The proposed facility will enable the vulnerable families to leave their home environment and move to one of the proposed units for an appropriate period.

"[It]... will help users develop the necessary skills to move onto independent living."

The lodges would be occupied by people receiving support and training and would not be a permanent home for clients.

Hurworth Parish Council has objected to the scheme.

An email from parish clerk Peter Allan to the council's planning department reads: "Residents in the area are extremely concerned about this new development, and the [parish] council shares their concerns.

"There are already 118 other similar buildings which have received planning permission in the area, of which only about 20 have been built.

"There seems no immediate market or need for more log cabins in this area.

"The application mentions vulnerable young people - this will be a very dangerous place for vulnerable young people as this risk of traffic and horse-related accidents is very high.

"Hurworth Parish Council is strongly against this application and asks DBC to reject it."

A number of identically-worded letters of objection from residents living close to the planned development have been sent to the Town Hall.

They raise objections on a number of grounds, including noise and light pollution, road safety and a lack of access to transport or facilities.

The letters state: "The families staying in the cabins will presumably be on low incomes, so will rely on local transport. Doctors, hospitals, shops, schools and nurseries are not within reasonable walking distance.

"The ground area of the proposed development is a former landfill site, which is monitored for hazardous has.

"Any disturbances caused by groundworks for the proposed developments could cause environmental harm."