COUNCILLORS have broken away from guidelines to grant planning permission for a “flamboyant” house in Darlington.

A sustainable four bedroom detached dwelling will be built on Beaumont Hill, with access from Hartlea Avenue.

The property- which is surrounded on one side by open fields - lies outside development limits that were set out in the Borough of Darlington Local Plan 1997 to maintain settlement boundaries and safeguard the character and appearance of the countryside.

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Principal planning officer Dave Coates said the National Planning Framework introduced in 2012 would allow councillors to break away from the local plan.

He said: “A development can take place outside of established boundaries when it is of exceptional quality or design.

“In this particular case, the property is very contemporary. It’s not particularly in keeping with properties immediately adjacent to it but it is a design that is flamboyant and sustainable and in that respect it does fulfil criteria set out that looks at innovative design.”

He added: “Our starting point is outside of development limits but it is fresh, different and innovative.

“If we were talking about establishing normal housing our recommendation would be one of refusal.”

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England objected to the plans, saying they did not consider the development to be of sufficiently high standard to move away from existing planning policies.

The Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Gerald Lee, also expressed concerns.

He said: “I’ve got no problem with the design but I’m concerned about developing outside of limits.

“Since 1997, officers have protected open countryside and while I hear what national policy says, this really is leaving the door open for more development outside of development areas – all builders would have to do is design something a bit different.

“Considering we are set on the protection of open countryside and development boundaries, this goes more than one step too far and will come back and bite us down the line.”

Objections were also raised by Whessoe Parish Council, which has concerns about the possible siting of a wind turbine on the site and potential future development.

Planning permission was granted at a meeting of Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee on Wednesday