PLANS to build 150 homes in a County Durham village have been approved amid fears it may be the “only opportunity” to improve its housing stock.

Members of Durham County Council’s county planning committee heard there was a “desperate” need for new houses in Trimdon Village.

Councillors approved the application by Sustainably Green Regeneration to build the homes on land south of Hurworth Burn Road.

Two residents attended to object to the scheme, while the area’s county councillors spoke in favour of it.

Trimdon councillor Jude Grant said: “It’s supported by many members of the community. For villages to survive, never mind thrive, we need properties for our aspirational families who want to move on. A lot of our properties are old stock and there isn’t anywhere for families who want to remain in the area. There’s a need to attract people to the area and they help in terms of shops and schools.

“The ten year plan doesn’t identify any sites in our area and this is the only opportunity to bring new properties to the area, which are desperately needed.”

Cllr John Clare said: “I am aware of many objections that the County Durham Plan puts all of its planned development in the central corridor and relies on windfall development in the peripheral communities to provide housing developments and growth.

“Communities in the west of the county are just as angry as ones in the east.

“I’m absolutely persuaded by the arguments of local members that if these periphery communities do not get some kind of development then that will severely disadvantage them economically and socially.”

The plans were approved despite concerns about the lack of a GP surgery in the village, following its closure earlier this year.

The developer has to pay £200,000 to make improvements to health care in Trimdon, but it is not yet known what these will be.

Cllr Mark Wilkes, who voted to refuse the scheme, said: “We are being asked to support an application where there’s going to be £200,000 and we don’t know what it’s going to be spent on.

“We are going to leave people with nowhere to go for a doctor’s appointment.”

Cllr Fraser Tinsley said: “If we put the kybosh on the development until the GP situation is sorted out we could be waiting for a long time.”