AN ACTION group has expressed concerns over proposed changes to plans to build dozens of new homes in a village.

Low Coniscliffe and Merrybent Action Committee have sent a letter to Darlington Borough Council to express their “deep concerns” over the latest plans to build 37 new homes.

The plans were first approved back in August 2017, but the developer is seeking to use a minor material amendment to make changes to the original proposals.

There is no statutory definition of a minor material amendment but it is likely to include any amendment where its scale or nature results in a development which is not substantially different from the one which has been approved.

However, the action group argue the changes proposed, which include the design of the dwellings, landscaping, and the layout of the homes, go beyond what should be defined as a minor material amendment.

In the letter sent Ian Williams, director of economic growth at the council, a spokesperson for Low Coniscliffe and Merrybent Action Committee said: “The residents of Low Coniscliffe and people who live in the surrounding areas are overwhelmingly opposed to this application for variation of conditions and currently there are 121 such objections.

“We believe that by validating this application Darlington Borough Council Planning Department are totally disregarding government guidance on what constitutes a minor amendment.

“The design aesthetic of the dwellings has been entirely changed, this cannot be said to be a minor amendment. These are totally different houses by a different builder using different designs and different materials from different sources. In fact the only two things that have remained the same are the number of dwellings, and changes to the main road.

“We respectfully request that you review all of our concerns and agree with us that given the evidence, together with the wishes and deep concerns from the people of the parish and beyond, the only way forward is through a new and full planning application.”

In 2017, The Northern Echo reported that the remains of a burial mound perhaps 4,000 years old had been found on the outskirts of the village. The finds are in a couple of fields near the A67 opposite the Baydale Beck pub.

A Darlington Borough Council spokesman said: “The application is being considered at the moment and is subject to consultation. All responses and comments received will be taken into consideration ahead of any decision being made.”