A plan for up to 80 homes in the second phase of a major development has been approved by councillors.

Taylor Wimpey applied for outline planning permission to build up to 80 homes on land west of Valley Road, Pelton Fell, near Chester-le-Street.

The company wants to build the houses on fields in a 5.64-hectare site. Nearby, a first phase of development is nearing completion and another scheme was recently built.

The proposals were considered at a Durham County Council planning committee meeting.

Read more: Sniperley plans - council and developers 'at loggerheads'

Chris Haggon, North-east strategic land leader for Taylor Wimpey, said the first phase of the development had been very popular with 51% of homes sold and 85% of the buyers from County Durham.

He said the current plan would be the second phase and they had arrived at the "very best scheme for the site".

He described benefits including at least 12 affordable homes, at least eight bungalows for older people, a children's play area, footpath improvements and financial contributions to play areas, education, new homes bonus payments and biodiversity.

He added the development would be within walking distance of bus stops, shops and facilities in Pelton Fell, with short-term bus passes to encourage public transport.

Read more: Middleton St George's plans for 198 homes are delayed

The site is near the Waldridge Fell site of special scientific interest, Congburn local nature and wildlife site and Chester-le-Street conservation area.

Senior planning officer Louisa Ollivere said there was one letter of objection from a member of the public citing concerns over consultation, survey work, traffic, impact on roads and air quality, poor pedestian links and pressures on GP surgeries.

Planning officers considered traffic and landscape impacts and loss of agricultural land were "acceptable" and harm could be lessened, recommending the plan for approval.

Councillor Carl Marshall said: "This is the village I grew up in.

"We've seen over the past 15 to 20 years the enormous impact and transformation of the village from quite a run-down area to a village of opportunity with quite a diverse mix of housing across the entire area.

"And I think the application before us is well thought out.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Carl Marshall. Picture: Northern Echo.Cllr Carl Marshall. Picture: Northern Echo. (Image: Northern Echo, Newsquest)

"There's not an awful lot of residents objecting to the scheme and I think that's testament to the way Taylor Wimpey have carried out the first phase of the development and worked through things with the local community."

Cllr Sam Zair congratulated the developer on a "superb application".

The committee voted unanimously to approve the plan.

Read next:

What do you think of the plans? Why not leave a comment on this story. Go to the top of this story and leave your thoughts. 

If you want to read more great stories, why not subscribe to your Northern Echo for as little as £1.25 a week. Click here.