A COMPOSTING business says it will have to close after plans to build 162 new homes on its doorstep was agreed.

Recycling company Rotters, run by Teesdale Conservation Volunteers (TCV) had called for Durham County Council’s planning committee to reject the proposal for houses on land between its base in Startforth and Deerbolt Young Offender’s Institute.

Owner Martin Bacon told councillors that Environment Agency requirements meant the facility, which recycles green waste for Durham County Council, would not be able to work when the wind was blowing towards the development, losing up to 20 per cent of the working year.

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Councillors approved the plans for 55 two-bedroom houses, 48 three-bedroom houses and 59 four-bedroom houses, including 24 affordable units, on the ten-and-a-half hectare green-field site near Barnard Castle.

Mark Dawson, from environmental consultancy Wardell Armstrong, told the committee monitoring had been carried out which found noise and odour levels would not be detrimental to new residents.

Planning consultant Luke Herring said: “A lot of time and effort has been put into this scheme. This site has been included in Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) for some time and has been identified as a suitable building site.”

Cllr Carl Marshall said: “Looking at this as an outsider to Teesdale, the application provides much needed housing in the area for families. Rural housing has been a particular problem in County Durham.”

Cllr Bill Moir said: “I’m very sorry if a business goes out of business but I hope it wouldn’t happen.

“The opportunity to live in Barnard Castle in affordable houses is actually very good.”

Barnard Castle west councillors Richard Bell and Ted Henderson asked developers Kier Living to consider a smaller scheme with a bigger buffer between Rotters and the houses.

Speaking after the meeting, Rotters owner Martin Bacon said: “This leaves us in a precarious position. Where do we go from here?

“Do we risk carrying on and getting fines or not being able to do our job?

“Councillors have just closed down a business and in an area with low employment and made my staff redundant.”