A SCHEME to build “high quality and sustainable new homes” on farmland has been recommended for refusal, despite claims it would help boost villagers’ quality of life.

Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee will consider the proposals for 25 three and four-bedroom properties on the east edge of Sadberge, which has attracted objections, including from the parish council.

A Friends of the Earth spokesman said it was “concerned and dismayed” over the potential loss of the green space which was closely linked to residents’ well-being. He also claimed allowing houses at the site would encourage car usage as the village was “very poorly served by bus services”.

He said: “This development would be sited on greenfield land in the countryside. Once developed it would be lost forever.

“The proposed housing is out of character with the village site and surrounding area and is located beyond the development limits of Sadberge.”

However, a spokesman for the developers said by creating attractive streets and external spaces they would “promote a feeling of well-being and a sense of place where residents can enjoy their neighbourhood in a safe environment.”

He added the scheme aimed to retain “local character and landscape whilst enhancing the openness and visual amenity of the surrounding area” and create a residential neighbourhood that encouraged a strong sense of community.

He said: “The vision is to both maintain and compliment the quality of the site and surrounding natural heritage, whilst interpreting the needs and aspirations of the community.”

In a report to the committee, planning officers said they considered the proposed development would have a harmful impact on Sadberge Conservation Area, that the estate would be outside development limits and that the design and layout “fails to have regard to the surrounding area”.

Officers stated: “The development limits are intended to maintain well defined settlement boundaries and safeguard the character and appearance of the countryside.” They added the proposal would have an adverse impact on residential amenity, failed to demonstrate a satisfactory acoustic environment.