A housing plan for up to 20 homes in County Durham has been passed - nine months after it was rejected by the same committee.

Mandale Homes applied for outline planning permission to build up to 20 homes near Eve Lane, Spennymoor.

Four letters of objection raised issues of traffic and ecological impact, Durham County Council planning committee meeting heard.

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The plan for land near the A688 and the Durham Gate development was refused in December last year, and an appeal was dismissed.

But a planning inspector said it was a "logical site for housing" and "a suitable scheme could be progressed subject to revised layouts, and this would not likely harm the character and appearance of the area".

Council planning officers said "significant weight" should be given to this finding.

So they recommended approval of the latest scheme with conditions including the developer paying £31,482 towards open space.

"To me this doesn't outweigh the effect of the loss of this area to the environment," said Councillor Liz Maddison, who represents Spennymoor, describing the plan as "quite unnecessary".

The Northern Echo: Cllr Liz Maddison. Picture: Durham County Council.Cllr Liz Maddison. Picture: Durham County Council. (Image: Durham County Council)

"It's in an area where you have quite a lot of agricultural land. We have more than enough developments and not the infrastructure to cover it.

"I think it is completely wrong to go with this application."

Cllr Maura McKeon said: "I was on this committee when we refused it last time. I think we had very good reason to and I still think we have good reason to.

"We all know what a hot button issue planning is for so many of our communities.

"I'm very disappointed at the inspector. I'm not sure they've properly seen the site.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Maura McKeon. Picture: Northern Echo.Cllr Maura McKeon. Picture: Northern Echo. (Image: Stuart Boulton, Newsquest)

"To me this is a breach of trust. We are now breaching the discussed and agreed boundaries of the Durham Gate site.

"It feels as though it's more of a profit exercise than it is an exercise to create a decent addition to the community.

"It grates very much with me that it feels like it's housing that County Durham doesn't want, but nationally we're being told we have to accept."

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Cllr Eddy Adam said he did not think the inspector "truly recognised the importance of this site and its location".

Other councillors supported the plan including Cllr Jim Atkinson who said planning inspectors were "very very thorough, absolutely top drawer".

He said: "They've recommended it for approval and I'd be inclined to go along with that."

Cllr Doug Oliver said: "We have to look at the broader picture of supply of quality and affordable housing."

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Cllr Patricia Jopling said: "We'd all like houses to be built in perfect locations, but that's not the case. We do need housing, we're desperate for housing.

"It's a piece of land that is surrounded by other developments."

Cllr Michael Stead added: "We do really have a shortage of housing crisis. I'm a property landlord and people are crying out for housing."

Councillors voted 9-3 to approve the outline plan.

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