THE future of a play area in a County Durham village will be decided next week.

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

However, the plan has been met with opposition by residents living nearby who say the development will mean children will no longer be able to play in the field, which is also used by people to walk their dogs.

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Planners from Durham County Council have recommended that the scheme, which the housing group says will help people get on the housing ladder, is approved by councillors when they meet on Tuesday.

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.

Each of the proposed dwellings would be semi-detached, with six accessed by a new cul-de-sac.

There would be 20 parking spaces for residents and three visitor spots.

Planners say the site is a sustainable location, within close walking distance of shops, services and facilities and add that the redevelopment of a vacant site would contribute to the surrounding area.

Earlier in the year dozens of members of the community attended a public consultation at Bowburn Community Centre to voice concerns about the plans and 37 formal objections were submitted to the council.

The Bowburn and Parkhill Community Partnership also objected, as did Cassop-Cum-Quarrington Parish Council.

A statement by the community partnership said: “Members are very conscious about the amount of development that has recently been approved in Bowburn, radically increasing the population of the village.

“The situation now is that several hundred houses have been approved in Bowburn, many of which have already been constructed.

“A number of green spaces within the village have now been developed for housing.

“This green space at Surtees Avenue is one of the few that remains. It is clearly a facility that is important to local residents.”

Council planners have recommended that the proposal is approved subject to the developers agreeing to give £20,570 towards open space and recreational facilities and a further £11,400 towards public art.

A decision is due to be made at a meeting of the central and east planning committee, which will be held at County Hall on Tuesday, at 1pm.