COUNCILLORS have approved plans to build 14 homes on unused scrubland, with almost £138,000 to be paid to schools.

Durham County Council applied for outline planning permission to build on land east of Sedgefield Community College.

Residents sent seven letters of objection, raising concerns about highway safety, affordable housing and drainage.

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Sedgefield Town Council objected to the scheme, saying it would have a severe impact on road safety.

The town council also said it did not comply with the neighbourhood plan in the type, quality and density of the housing off Butterwick Road and Hawthorn Road, Sedgefield.

Senior planning officer Barry Gavillet said the council's highways department found the plans acceptable.

He said: "The plans have been amended. It was 20 houses, there's now 14. The reason for that is so that the houses can be set back further from the main road and away from the existing dwellings.

"There would be no issues with overlooking, overbearing impact or privacy brought about by the new development."

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Planners recommended the scheme for approval, saying it did not conflict with neighbourhood plans. 

Councillor Eddy Adam told the council's planning committee of concerns raised by residents during a site visit.

These included sight lines on a steep bend, a speed survey carried out during Covid, parking and heavy vehicles.

He said: "We could see a number of issues that need to be rectified orior to agreeing this particular location.

"I've got no objection to the houses being built there. I think it's a very suitable site for that.

"But I still believe, with having a site visit, that highways need to reconsider some aspects."

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He suggested changing the position of a 30mph speed limit sign and restricting HGVs.

Highways officer Phil Harrison said some of these would not be appropriate as planning conditions and others were traffic regulation orders outside the planning process.

He added: "They are existing highways problems which we don't believe would be made worse by this development."

Cllr David Boyes said the small-scale housing development would use a brownfield site which had been "lying dormant for a long time".

The committe voted unanimously to approve outline planning premission with conditions.

The conditions include the council paying contributions of £137,880 to primary and secondary schools in the area, £24,505 to open spaces and £5,044 to biodiversity.


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