A MULTI-MILLION pound scheme to build 167 new homes on the edge of a village has been approved despite a recommendation by council officials that it be rejected because of the potential for increased traffic congestion.

Durham county councillors unanimously endorsed the plans for land north of Ladysmith Terrace, Ushaw Moor, near Durham, following an impassioned plea from community leaders for new development in the village.

Taylor Wimpey has won permission to construct the £13m housing estate on a 5.5-hectare greenfield site. Thirty three dwellings will be “affordable” two or three bedroom homes, while the others will be three or four bedroom detached houses.

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Recommending refusal, planning officers said traffic generated would add to already saturated junctions on the A167 and A690 at peak times and would lead to “severe cumulative impacts upon the transport network”.

Speaking in favour of the scheme, Phil Stoddart of Brandon and Byshottles Parish Council, said: “This development will improve the visual image of our village and will help support schools, shops post office and jobs and local transport. It will also give the village the kickstart it needs.”

Ward councillor Jean Chaplow added: “This will help generate houses and bring families into Ushaw Moor. We have capacity in our three schools for extra children.”

Objector Sally Dixon, speaking on behalf of residents of Ladysmith Terrace, said their homes would be directly overlooked by the new housing and she agreed with concerns raised by the highways officers.

Monsignor John Marsland, president of landowners Ushaw College, which closed as seminary in June 2011, said: “The financial receipts generated from the scheme will provide much-needed funds for Ushaw College and will contribute toward the new future of this important asset.”