A FORMER factory site will be turned into a housing estate after plans for 123 new homes were approved.

Durham County Council’s county planning committee approved the proposals for the former British Oxygen Co factory, next to the A167 in Chester-le-Street, which was demolished in 2013.

Developer Avant Homes had asked for full planning permission for 123 houses and outline permission for a further 80 homes on the brownfield land on Vigo Lane.

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Planning consultant Dominic Waugh said: “In my view the site ticks all the boxes. It was demolished four years ago and the for sale sign has been up for longer than I care to remember.

“Sites such as this are very rare. They don’t come along very often and Avant Homes are massively keen to get started.”

Cllr Ivan Jewell said: “It’s a site which is right for development.”

The development will be predominantly three and four bedroom houses, with 30 affordable units.

Councillors heard that Avant Homes had been working hard to resolve issues with contaminated land caused by the site’s former use and conditions were imposed to ensure work does not start unless they are.

The company has agreed to make a financial contribution to extend nearby Park View School, which was oversubscribed in 2017, to pay for schemes to make biodiversity improvements at Waldridge Fell and to provide public open space.

Cllr Bill Moir called for council officers to ensure Avant adhered strictly to conditions imposed by the authority.