A RESIDENTS’ campaign to “Save West Rainton” has ended in failure, after councillors backed plans to build 150 homes in the village.

Durham County Council today (Tuesday, June 17) granted Tees Valley Housing (TVH) planning permission to build up to 150 houses and a community hub on 11 hectares of farm land off Station Road.

Villagers mounted a Save West Rainton campaign to fight the proposals, claiming the development would be far too big, the extra cars would cause traffic chaos – particularly at the junction of the A690, and harm local services.

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But the council’s county planning committee, meeting at County Hall, Durham, voted seven to four in support of the scheme.

Councillor David Boyes said the project would support jobs and TVH had reduced the scale from 250 homes.

Cllr Mike Dixon said TVH was a socially responsible housing group and would provide much-needed social housing.

Cllr Paul Taylor said he did not like development in the countryside and outside the village’s settlement boundary, but the scheme would include social houses and bungalows and was well-thought out.

On the other side, Cllr Nigel Martin said the site was not allocated for housing and the proposals conflicted with council policy and he could not support them.

Cllr George Richardson said the land should be preserved for agriculture and raised concerns over the extra traffic, saying it was already almost impossible to cross the A690.

James Taylor, for TVH – a Middlesbrough-based social landlord, said the £15m scheme would bring an extra £600,000-a-year into the local economy, support 37 jobs during construction and had been reduced in size following consultation.

The estate will include 30 affordable homes, including 15 bungalows. There will also be semi-detached and detached homes, with between three and five bedrooms.

Access will be off two points of Station Road and the A690 junction will get traffic lights.

The council received 300 objection letters to the 250-home plans and a further 244 to the scaled-back scheme.

Local county councillor David Hall said West Rainton needed more infrastructure, not this housing development, which he said would create “almost a separate hamlet” with new businesses which would damage existing local shops.

However, planning officers recommended the scheme be approved and, following an hour-long debate, the committee agreed with their assessment.