PLANS for more than 100 new homes on the outskirts of Consett have been rejected by councillors.

Durham County Council’s planning department had recommended the proposals, for up to 105 houses on land between Delves Lane and Crookhall, be given the go ahead.

But assurances the potential benefits of the scheme, as well as more than £900,000 from developers towards schools and health services, would outweigh any negatives were rejected at a planning meeting.

Councillor Craig Martin, who recommended rejecting the proposals, said: “The thing that concerns me is that this would mark the end of the boundary between Crookhall village and the Delves Lane area.”

“If you go there there is a very defined boundary between the two conurbations and I’m concerned approving this would substantially affect the area.

“It would concern me, if we were to approve this, about the loss of identity for the village.”

He added: “Any benefit will not outweigh the considerable loss of character this community would suffer from the fact that the boundary between Crookhall and the Delves Lane area would be removed.”

Neil Carter, the council’s solicitor, said whether or not Coun Martin’s arguments were a ‘legitimate planning reason for refusal’ would be a ‘matter of planning judgement’.

The meeting also heard from Delves Lane councillor, Malcolm Clarke, who does not sit on the committee, about concerns over traffic and road safety in the area if the application was approved.

But Sandra Mason, of the Pegasus Group, a planning consultancy, speaking on behalf of applicant Gleeson Regeneration insisted the scheme was a ‘well-considered proposal’ which ‘does not have any significant drawbacks’.

She also pointed to agreements to allocate 10 per cent of properties on the site, north of Castledene Road ‘affordable’, as well as ‘S106’ contributions worth about £685,000 to schools in the area and a further £230,000 for recreational space, healthcare and ‘biodiversity enhancements’.

All members voted to reject the proposal except Coun Kevin Thompson and Coun Simon Wilson, who both voted in favour of the plan, in line with the recommendation of officers.