The heritage of Newton Aycliffe is at risk after a bid to build low-cost 'affordable' homes was approved, locals have warned. 

Plans for a new 23-home estate in Newton Aycliffe were approved by Durham County Council - but locals have decried the loss of green space on which the housing will be built. 

Residents say the location of the undeveloped site, at the junction of Pease Way and Horndale Avenue, is historically significant due to its proximity to the former home of Lord Beveridge - an architect of the welfare state and the first chairman of the Aycliffe Development Corporation.

Objectors said the ‘New Town Aycliffe’ concept devised by Lord Beveridge, who lived at nearby 57 Cumby Road, sought for the site to be retained as green open space and any new development would remove open space and impact the history of the town. 

The Northern Echo: Where the new housing estate will be built in Newton AycliffeWhere the new housing estate will be built in Newton Aycliffe (Image: The Northern Echo)

Among those opposed to the plans was Gareth Elvidge. He said: “It is inconceivable that Lord Beveridge's vision for New Towns and the green spaces within them is being destroyed by proposing to allow 23 houses to be cramped in the land historically associated with the house that was built for him during the construction of the New Town.

“The setting of this dwelling and the memory of Lord Beveridge’s association would be damaged beyond repair with the building of a cramped housing estate totally devoid of the open green space vision that Newton Aycliffe was built upon.”

Overall, seven letters of objection were sent to the local authority including from Great Aycliffe Parish Council. Local councillors objected to the proposal on the grounds that parking on the estate would be an issue for homeowners. 

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A statement read: “Parking provision is considered inadequate for the size of development. The provision of one allocated space for a three-bedroom house with potentially multiple car-users is unlikely to be sufficient.”

But housing developer Adderstone Living says the site will consist of two, three and four-bedroom homes and will provide “much-needed” bungalows, with both affordable rent and Rent to Buy tenures on site. “Working closely with officers has resulted in the sustainable provision of much needed affordable housing within South West Durham on an under-utilised site,” a statement added. 

Councillors supported the council’s proposal to approve the plans on the condition that £36,204.30 would be spent on nearby open space provision.