VILLAGERS are celebrating after a developer withdrew its appeal against a planning decision to block the building of hundreds of homes.

In recent years, Middleton St George has been ‘inundated’ with housing applications and residents were fed-up with large-scale developments.

Now they are celebrating after the controversial plan to build 280 homes was brought to an end.

The proposals also included plans for a 60-bed care home, a community park with new footpaths and outdoor equipment, and a new children’s play area.

Councillor Doris Jones said: “This is really good news for Middleton St George. We have been inundated with planning applications in recent years and we simply couldn’t take any more developments.

“With Local Plan nearing completion, we have been able to work on our own Neighbourhood Plan which will be a great help in stopping all of these developments. Previously, we were unable to show that there was no need for all of these extra houses but that position has changed now that the borough council’s local plan has more legal weight.

“We still have a lot of houses coming onboard so it is really important that we continue to keep an eye on the detailed planning applications so that we can get the best results for the area.

“The developer’s decision to withdraw the planning appeal certainly shows the value of campaigning.”

The Northern Echo:

Cllr Doris Jones

The Middleton St George councillor, who had previously warned that the village was turning into a town, said there was now applications approved or in the pipeline to build almost 2,000 homes in the area.

A Darlington Borough Council spokesperson said: “The Council are very pleased valuable resources are not being spent on fighting this particular planning appeal. The Council has been very proactive in establishing a five year supply of housing within the Borough over recent years, which we believe to be one of the main reasons why this appeal has been withdrawn. Having a demonstrable five year supply puts us in a better position to defend against speculative planning approaches.”

The Gladman development was proposed on land on the south western edge of Middleton St George, off Neasham Road.

Previously, the property company had said they were proposing to create a number of community facilities, including the play park but accepted that there had been concern in the village about an increase in traffic.

They said they had been working with residents to alleviate their concerns but the application was rejected by the council.

No one was available for comment from the property developer.