PLANS for a major housing development on the site of former council headquarters have been approved despite objections.

Durham County Council’s area planning committee unanimously approved an application to build 80 homes on the site of Easington District Council’s offices.

Easington Village Parish Council had lodged a formal objection to the proposal, claiming the emerging County Durham Plan only allowed for 63 houses on the site.

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Parish councillors also said they had concerns over an increase in traffic, the loss of trees on the site and pressure the development would put on local school places.

Two letters of objection have been received from local residents, voicing similar concerns.

Planning officers recommended approval for the plans by house builder Persimmon to develop 62 two-bedroom homes and 18 three-bedroom homes on the prominent two-hectare site in Seaside Lane, Easington.

The developers say there would be two access points into the new estate, one from Seaside Lane and a second from Thorpe Road.

Principal planning officer Sarah Eldridge recommended that the application be approved, subject to several conditions, including a payment of £40,000 towards play and recreation in the district and another £15,000 towards the upkeep of footpaths.

She said: “It is considered to be in a sustainable location for residential development and will contribute toward an identified housing need in the area including provision of affordable housing on site.”

Originally built as a 19th Century workhouse, the site was used as a hospital and offices before becoming home to Easington District Council until its abolition in 2009.

The remaining buildings were demolished last year with some fixtures and fittings transferred to Beamish Museum.

Developers say 10 per cent of the development will be made available at affordable prices, including rental and sale.

Neil Foster, managing director for Persimmon Homes Teesside, said: “It is envisaged that the development could bring a welcome boost of more than £1m to the local economy each year and will create employment during its construction.

“It is hoped that the scheme will bring a prominent brownfield site back into use, improving the visual amenity of the area in the process.

“The proposed units will range in size from two-bedroom starter homes right through to larger four-bedroom detached dwellings."