A PLANNING appeal will be heard later this month over a developer’s long-running attempt to build new homes on an edge of town site.

Bellway Homes is appealing against Durham County Council’s refusal of planning permission for a development to include 75 houses, with associated access, on land south of Dalton Heights, in Seaham.

The proposed site would fill a large stretch of farmland between the A19 and the B1285 road connecting southern Seaham to the dual carriageway and Murton.

But the Newcastle-based developer’s proposals have met with opposition, particularly from villagers in nearby Dalton-le-Dale, who fear their community would be swallowed up within an expanded township of Seaham.

Bellway previously saw plans for 135 homes on the site refused, in 2015, and a smaller application in 1998 was rejected by the former Easington District Council and by a Government inspector on appeal.

In the previous application to the county council, which assumed planning powers of the former district council in 2009, agents for Bellway said the development would provide a new sustainable residential neighbourhood which would help to meet identified needs for housing in Seaham.

They included an element of affordable housing and added that the development would provide scores of construction jobs and generate an estimated £1.2m extra spending in the local economy.

But, residents in Dalton-le-Dale formed an action group to oppose the previous plans, stating that it would lead to their historic village losing its distinct identity and effectively just become an extension of Seaham.

They, along with residents of Dalton Heights, in Seaham, also raised concerns about flooding and highway safety on the B1285.

Almost 100 letters of objection were submitted during consultation and Dalton-le-Dale Parish Council and Seaham Town Council also lodged their opposition.

Among issues of concern highlighted were the impact on the character of the area and landscape, flooding and drainage, highways and loss of residential amenity.

The latest plan for 75 two, three and four-bedroomed homes was turned down by the county council, in June last year, over traffic, wildlife and flooding concerns.

A four-day public inquiry will be heard by an independent inspector at the Glebe Centre, in Durham Place, Murton, starting on Tuesday July 25, at 10am.