A DEVELOPER is eyeing up farmland on the edge of Barnard Castle for up to 100 new houses.

Banks Property hopes to apply for planning permission to build up to 100 family homes on a 5.4 hectare site, around a mile from the town centre, in the autumn.

The site, to the north of the A67 Darlington Road, is located next to the existing Castle Vale development, and Banks describes it as a suitable and sustainable location for new housing.

Banks officials said the project will include new landscaping and enhancement of wildlife habitats around the site, which is currently agricultural land, and an electric vehicle charging point installed in all homes.

The say the site provides direct access to existing local public transport routes and its location will minimise the need for additional traffic to pass through the historic town centre.

The company, which is part of the County Durham-headquartered Banks Group, plans a ‘comprehensive community engagement programme’, with public consultation events planned for next month before seeking consent from Durham County Council.

Three socially-distanced public consultation events are scheduled to be held at the TCR Hub, on Shaw Lane, in Barnard Castle, in September, which will be held subject to any government restrictions on gatherings of this type taking place at the time and Banks’ own risk assessment processes.

Unless there are health and safety reasons to postpone them, they will be held from 3.30pm to 7.30pm on Tuesday, September 8, between 9am and 1.30pm on Tuesday, September 15 and from 1pm to 5pm on Friday, September 18.

Following public consultation, the firm hopes to submit a planning application this autumn.

Chris Kelsey, communications manager at The Banks Group, said: “This site has been chosen as the most appropriate location for a development of this type and would offer a range of different property sizes and designs, including affordable housing, that will enable more people to move to or stay in the area.

“We prioritise working with residents and key community leaders from a very early stage to ensure all our projects deliver significant social, economic and environmental benefits in the areas that we work.

“While wanting to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to properly assess our proposals and ask any questions they might have about them directly to our project team, we are naturally, like everyone else, very conscious of the evolving situation around the pandemic.

“We will put extensive safety measures in place at our consultation events if they are able to go ahead, but will be continually reviewing whether this is going to be possible in the lead up to each event and will ensure the community is informed once a final decision is made about each one.

“Providing a supply of new family homes is essential to the vitality and sustainability of every community, and in the current economic climate, it is more than important than ever to ensure investment continues to flow into local communities and the regional economy.

“We’re excited by the opportunities that this site provides for delivering a high-quality development that will both help address local housing needs and enhance the local community and look forward to sharing more information about it with local residents in the coming months.”

For information on the proposed Darlington Road development contact the project team via DarlingtonRoadBarnardCastle@banksgroup.co.uk