PLANS to build a three-bedroom home in a Durham garden have been approved despite concerns it could be turned into student accommodation.

The trustees of Mrs Doreen Hodgson’s Estate had put forward proposals to build the house in the garden of a property in The Hallgarth, Durham, between Hallgarth Street and Whinney Hill.

The house is part of a terrace of four houses, built in the 1970s.

Two of the houses in the terrace already have extensions and have been converted into student accommodation.

However, the applicants say this development is aimed at preserving number 36 as a family home and adding a new one to the “meagre dwindling stock of houses”.

A number of objections to the scheme had been made to Durham County Council because of concerns over overdevelopment, privacy and that the building could eventually be used as student housing.

Councillor David Freeman said: “Residents do have concerns that it could become one after it’s given initial planning permission.”

Objector Davina Jones, speaking on behalf of residents, described the home plan as “shoehorning a house into a landlocked space”.

She added: “The community is fearful that both houses would fall into the hands of student landlords.”

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, their agent said: “It has been used as a family home since it was built 50 years ago and will continue to do so in the future.”

Planning officer Chris Baxter said that if the property was turned into student accommodation in the future, the planning department would have enforcement powers available.

The City of Durham Trust also objected to the scheme, saying it would be an overdevelopment of pocket of greenery, which is the last remaining part of the ancient Elvet Hall Manor Farm.

Concerns about parking have also been raised because the house would have no spaces for cars.

But Cllr Ivan Jewell criticised concerns about the loss of green space, saying the site is not available for community use.

The application was approved with six members of the committee voting in favour and five against.