A PROPOSED housing development on an agricultural field that conflicts with a council’s policy to protect rural land has been recommended for approval.

Punch Taverns’ plan to build 12 houses off Yarm Road, in Middleton St George is set to be examined by Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee next week.

The scheme has fuelled long-running concerns the village is being overdeveloped and comes two months after it was revealed there were applications approved or in the pipeline to build almost 2,000 homes in the area.

Many of the dozens of objections to the latest scheme, including from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, state there would be too many properties crammed onto the development site and traffic issues. A spokesman for Punch Taverns said the development “should not result in unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the rural area”.

In a report to the meeting, officers agreed, despite the conflict with its policy to direct new development to within the development limits. The report added the density of the development was within “normal accepted density limits” and while the site was “not wholly sustainable in terms of access to public transport”, the small number of homes proposed meant it would not create significant traffic issues.