COUNCILLORS rejected the recommendation of their own planning experts to approve a housing development in Staindrop.

The scheme proposes building 50 homes on land south of Sudburn Avenue, with access from Cleatlam Lane, which lies outside the Staindrop Conservation Area.

Durham County Council’s planning department felt the scheme would have ‘serious negative effects’ on the rural landscape and could lead to noise restrictions for nearby businesses.

But councillors for the village insisted housing would be the best use for the site.

“This is the right place for good quality housing,” Ian Royston, of Staindrop Parish Council, told last week’s area planning committee.

“Further, though earmarked for industry, there has been no applications for the land for that use.

“The parish council’s view is the application represents a major opportunity for the village.

“Staindrop is a vibrant community with a wide range of shops and services, but Staindrop is at risk like any other rural village – we’re convinced development is, in all respects, a good thing for Staindrop.”

Northumbrian Water did not object but noted the current sewer network could not cope with ‘additional flows’– an issue it said could be dealt with in a detailed plan.

Three objection letters cited concerns such as loss of privacy, highway safety and effects on property values.

Planning officers said the proposal could ‘reduce the attractiveness of the industrial estate to future investors’. However, county councillors felt the support outweighed those concerns and voted to approve the application.