A PLANNING application has been submitted to Darlington Borough Council for the provision of up to 25 traveller pitches on a site off Neasham Road.

The site, in Lewisham Lane, is situated to the east of an existing traveller site, known as Rowan East. To the south is The Darlington Arena - owned by Darlington Mowden Park rugby club - and to the north, beyond the railway line, is housing.

The proposal seeks to extend provision for traveller families for residential use, including amenity blocks on each pitch, and a layout based on current Homes England design standard for Gypsy and traveller sites.

The site will be used to create modern traveller accommodation based on licensed pitch standards to meet long-term need.

Local planning authorities have rules to ensure traveller sites are not developed in open countryside, and avoid putting too much pressure on local infrastructure.

Highways England said it raises no highways objections to the proposal, other than adding conditions to improve safety.

Highways engineer Arthur Howson said: "The new pitches will be accessed via the existing junction and access road off Neasham Road which was upgraded as part of a previous application which secured off-site highway works as mitigation for increased vehicle movements associated with 20 additional pitches.

"These off-site works included increasing the junction size to include 10m radii kerbs to improve visibility and turning movements, widening the access road to 6.7m for 40m in order to enable two way passage of vehicles off Neasham Road, along with provision of two passing places.

"An appropriate street lighting scheme and design should be submitted."

Patrick Chisholm from Environmental Health added: "Historical maps of the site do not show any indication of the site having a past history of industrial use which could have caused potential contamination issues. "Contaminated land investigations done in the area as part of the planning application for the previous traveller site did not uncover any ground contamination or ground gas issues." The plans can be viewed at https://publicaccess.darlington.gov.uk.

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