PEOPLE living on a residential street are objecting to proposals to build homes on a patch of land used as a play area.

County Durham Housing Group wants to build 10 three-bedroom homes on land next to Surtees Avenue in Bowburn.

Tom Winter, development manager for the group, says the houses are aimed at helping people on the housing ladder.

Loading article content

But people already living in the area are concerned about the loss of green space, which is currently used by children to play.

Mum-of-two Emma Pallister, said: “I’ve lived on Surtees Avenue all my life. I grew up in my house and played in that area and now my children are on there daily.

“It’s the only safe space for them to play freely. The street has horrific traffic so if they take it away they won’t be able to go out and play.”

She added: “They’ve taken away green spaces to build houses all over the village.”

The houses will be available for affordable rent, with tenants offered a reduced rent for five years before being given the chance to buy the properties.

Mr Winter said: “We think it’s a sustainable location and it’s a new product for us to help people on the housing ladder.

“They’ll be for rent but aimed at working people who can’t afford a deposit. They’ll pay reduced rent for five ears and then will have an opportunity to buy.”

He added that there is a park within walking distance and said the group would look at paying a contribution towards improving play facilities.

County councillor Jan Blakey said: “I think it’s a shame yet again if we lose another green space.

“It’s well used - it’s a short cut for people getting to the doctors and chemists and the kids play out there all the time.

“Residents are quite worried about it. It seems like we’re getting towards saturation point with housing.”

Concerns have also been raised about the homes putting more pressure on GP and school services as well as making it more difficult for people to park outside their homes.

Julie Carpenter, who also lives on Surtees Avenue, said: “Many Bowburn residents are alarmed by the number of new housing developments springing up in the village and are very concerned that this once close knit community is turning into a vast housing estate.”

Mr Winter says the group hopes to submit a formal planning application over the summer.

Members of the community attended a public consultation at Bowburn Community Centre to find out more about the proposals.