MULTI-million pound plans have been submitted for a new community centre and 81 homes in a village.

Durham Villages Regeneration Company (DVRC) wants to build 81 houses on land off Front Street, Sherburn Hill, near Durham City, and plans to leave part of the site for a new community centre.

The centre is not dependent on the housing development, as although DVRC has committed £400,000 to the scheme this is community benefit money from a previous project.

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Both proposals have now been submitted to Durham County Council, which will take final decisions in the coming months.

The newly formed Sherburn Hill Community Association is preparing a Lottery grant bid to cover the remaining costs of the community centre, which could be up to £600,000.

Sherburn Hill has been without a community centre since the old one closed following a damning health and safety inspection in 2012.

Plans for a new £1.2m facility, agreed in 2008, faltered as they were dependent on DVRC proceeds, which were hit by the housing market collapse.

Sherburn county councillor David Hall said: “Sherburn Hill hasn’t had a community centre for some time. The old one needed a £1m-plus refurbishment to bring it up to standard.

“There’s a real need for a community building here and the process of getting to this point has shown that local people really want it.”

It is hoped a new centre could attract groups which have had to meet outside the area and encourage new activities.

The facility would be an L-shaped, single storey building, accessed off Front Street. It would have a large hall, smaller meeting rooms and a kitchen.

It is hoped the Lottery funding application will be submitted later this month.

Cllr Hall said: “It’s really exciting to have it on this site, with its links to the play area, green space and new housing.”

Cllr Neil Foster, cabinet member for economic development and regeneration at Durham County Council – which is a partner in DVRC with developers Keepmoat, said: “This is one of two legacy projects we inherited.

“We’re delighted to be able to match what we promised we would do. It was just a question of being in a position to do it.”

Consultation on both projects has begun. For more information, visit using the references DM/14/02129/OUT and DM/14/02104/FPA.