HOUSING plans for a former hotel site in County Durham have been given the go-ahead by councillors.

The site of the Kensington Hall Hotel, in Willington, has sat vacant for years since the demolition of buildings.

While multiple bids to revamp the site have been approved since 2007, including a 44-apartment complex, no schemes have come to fruition.

Durham County Council’s area planning committee gave the green light to new plans from applicant Michael Barron.

This includes outline planning permission for 16 homes at the site off Kensington Terrace, including a new vehicle access.

Following concerns about the density of housing, the number of homes was reduced from 17 to 16.

Applicants have also agreed to provide three affordable dwellings on the site.

During the planning meeting at Durham County Hall, councillors raised concerns about the size of houses on the site.

They were told that under outline permission, final details of layout, scale and design will be decided at a later date.

Highways officers also confirmed the scheme would be acceptable in terms of highway safety and parking.

Cllr John Shuttleworth welcomed the plans to revamp the former hotel site.

“I have seen this site go on here for years,” he said.

“It’s a area that wants tidying up and on the basis of that it looks a good scheme.”

However, Cllr Fraser Tinsley raised concerns about the plans following the same fate as previous applications.

This included developers winning planning approval then moving on.

Cllr Tinsley added: “We have to consider the application before us.

“It’s a brownfield site and it’s being cited as derelict for some time.

“I have listened to our highways engineer who has allayed my concerns in that regard (highways).

“On balance, I think it’s something that would be positive to the area.”

Following discussion, the plans were passed with a unanimous vote.

The application is also subject to the signing of a section 106 agreement.

This will see the developer pay funds to the council to offset any potential impacts of the new housing.

The sum will be split between £27,667.50 towards open space provision, £7,728 towards healthcare and £6,000 towards biodiversity.