PLANS to build a number of homes close to a popular village green were rejected yesterday.

Local residents had strongly opposed proposals to develop a small site bordering on Cockerton Green, Darlington.

The plans would have seen a cottage and four one-bedroom apartments built on the site, which lies within the Cockerton conservation area.

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Initial proposals to build three terraced family homes on the Hill Garth site were turned down in 2006 when Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee determined that there would not be sufficient parking space to accommodate the development.

A similar fate met the amended plans at a meeting of the planning committee yesterday (Wednesday, June 4).

The plans had been recommended for approval subject to a number of conditions but were turned down after councillors made a site visit and heard concerns raised by residents.

A representative from England and Lyle, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the amendments to provide single-bedroom homes rather than family properties meant demand for car parking would be less and met by nearby on-street parking.

She also said the development would make a small but valuable contribution in addressing the council’s need to meet demand for housing locally.

However, her claims were countered with concerns raised by councillors and residents, who had lodged several letters of objection in relation to the development.

Speaking at the meeting, one resident said: “We have a long list of reasons as to why this development is completely inappropriate.

“There are issues with potential flooding, access, security and lighting.

“The development is too close to Hill Garth and it is too high. There is no justification to build so high and so close.

“It is huge and completely out of place and I am horrified.”

Ward councillor Jan Cossins echoed his concerns and said: “Parking is a big issue. Single people do drive and there are already cars parked back-to-back around this area, which is very well used.

“Flooding is also a huge issue. As soon as it rains, you are driving through water.”

Other objections included the proximity of the development to nearby homes, limited disabled access, the effect on the conservation area and village green, the danger presented by unsafe parking and the potential for anti-social behaviour.

Chair of the committee, Councillor Paul Baldwin, recommended the plans for refusal on the basis of size, flooding concerns and parking problems.