PLANS to cut down are area of woodland to make way for a family home have been given the green light by county bosses.

An application to build a four-bedroom house on land south of the Telephone Exchange, in Durham Road, Chilton, had prompted concerns over the impact on wildlife in the area.

But despite the fears, the proposals were approved after chiefs concluded they did not have sufficient grounds to turn them down.

Durham County Councillors for Chilton Christine Potts: “This is a long-established area of woodland, comprising 72 mature trees.

“It’s a haven for local wildlife, a huge variety of birds, including owls and woodpeckers, as well as foxes, squirrels and hedgehogs.

“I have no doubt that the felling of 40 of these trees will decimate the biodiversity of this unique part of Chilton.”

Cllr Potts was speaking at at Tuesday's meeting of Durham County Council’s Area Planning Committee, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Steven Longstaff, a director at ELG Planning, a consultancy, said the plans represented a "high quality dwelling" in an "accessible and sustainable location, surrounded by existing residential development".