A proposal to demolish a set of “unsightly” farm buildings and replace them with new houses has been unanimously approved by councillors.

The plan to knock down three agricultural buildings including a grain store at Manor Farm, Back Lane, Egglescliffe and build four homes attracted objectors and supporters, including one resident who objected initially then supported it later. Supporters spoke out for the scheme at a Stockton Council planning committee meeting on Wednesday (November 8).

The plans, which have been reduced from seven homes to four, taking out three barn conversions which will be considered at a later date, are for a site in the Egglescliffe conservation area and partly in a green wedge. The site already had previous planning permission for 12 homes including the redevelopment of redundant farm sites and restoration of the grade II listed Old Hall nearby.

Two people addressed councillors about the proposed three to five-bedroom houses at the meeting. Neville Thompson said: “I’d like to support the application. I believe this is a good use of buildings that were actually put up in 1920-1930. They’re probably past their sell-by date and not fit for modern farming equipment.

“I think we should do as much as we can to encourage our farmers. It’s a working farm and if we don’t support them potentially we could lose them.

“It’s old buildings being knocked and some nice tasteful buildings put in their place. The original application actually had more houses than this so it’s not going to impact any greater than has already been agreed.

“Anybody who’s moving into these houses won’t impact on the traffic. It’s a good idea, it’s going to enhance the area.”

Sean Close said traffic issues could be managed: “The development aesthetically fits in with the village. I think as a young person who lives in the village, we should have more homes like this. You want your kids to grow up there.

“I think this is going to secure the future for the farm and we need to do everything we can to support British farmers. It doesn’t affect anything around there. It’s safe as houses.”

David Marjoram from ELG Planning, agent for the developer, said the plan had been refined to a small bespoke residential scheme in a courtyard arrangement, replacing low-quality buildings. He said: “It will create new family homes in Egglescliffe.

“Replacing a collection of unsightly sheds with high-quality housing is in-keeping with the conservation area. This could have a significant beneficial effect.

“The incursion on the green wedge would be minor. The proposals are intended to fund new farm buildings in due course to secure the long-term viability of the farm.”

Before the meeting, Egglescliffe & Eaglescliffe Parish Council had expressed “major concerns” about more traffic on narrow roads. And 12 objection letters raised issues including traffic impact, insufficient access, road safety for children and walkers, a dangerous blind bend, spoiling the village aesthetic and privacy of the nearby grade II listed Manor House, with three letters in support.

Most read: 

Principal planning officer Elaine Atkinson said some objections were to a previous, larger scheme, but the new scheme had three objections and one support letter. Some concerns were raised by officers but the scheme was recommended for approval: “Overall it is considered that the proposal is acceptable with conditions.”

Councillor Jim Taylor said: “Neither myself nor Stefan Houghton, councillors for Eaglescliffe East, have had any complaints whatsoever. I would support this.”

Cllr Barry Woodhouse said: “I can see nothing wrong with the application.” The plan was passed with a unanimous vote from the committee.