MAJOR plans for hundreds of homes, industrial units and leisure facilities at Durham Tees Valley Airport have been submitted.

Airport bosses say the development which would include 350 houses and a local service centre would help to secure the future of the loss-making facility.

Concerns have been made, however, on the impact of the scheme on local services, with plans already drawn up for hundreds of homes to be built in the area.

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Plans for land on the north side of the airport, which have been submitted to Darlington Council, include residential development and a local services centre for retail, commercial, leisure and community uses.

Bosses say the proposals for land on the north of the site are a key element in implementing the Airport Master Plan.

Robert Hough, chairman of Peel Airports, which own the site, said it was important for the future of the airport that funds were raised to invest in the business.

“In recent years, we have taken a range of measures aimed at achieving a better balance between costs and revenues but the reality is that in line with many of the UK’s regional airports, the business continues to make significant annual losses.

"That is why we have to develop all our assets, including land, to provide the resources for re-investment. 100% of the revenues generated from the housing development will be reinvested in the airport business.

"The development plans have the potential to bring much needed security to the airport’s future for a minimum period of five years and potentially the next ten years. This would allow time for the region’s economy to recover, supporting the prospects for growth in services."

The local services centre would include shops, financial and professional services, restaurants and other leisure facilities.

Community facilities are also proposed which could include a health centre, dentist and nursery.

The application also includes a commitment to invest in education, affordable housing, highways and transport infrastructure.

Peel says the development will provide at least 100 jobs when finished.

Councillor Doris Jones, who represents Middleton St George, said she was concerned about the impact on education provision, with other applications submitted for hundreds of homes in the area.

She said the proposed expansion at St George's Church of England Academy, which would create 105 more spaces, may not be enough.

"I feel very strongly that the education facilities must be given priority and not just for toddlers - we need more spaces for children aged from four up to secondary school – and even Hurworth is struggling now for space," she added.