A developer has completed the purchase of vacant land in County Durham that could now see 120 new homes built at a former steelworks in the region. 

Bellway Durham has revealed that it has exchanged contracts to buy land on the ex-Weardale Steelworks site in Wolsingham.

The housebuilder has submitted an application seeking approval for detailed plans to deliver the 120 new homes on the site, off Durham Road.

The Northern Echo: An aerial shot of the Wolsingham siteAn aerial shot of the Wolsingham site (Image: CONTRIBUTOR)

The development would consist of 108 new homes for private sale – including two-bedroom bungalows and three, four and five-bedroom detached houses – as well as 12 affordable properties available for local people.

Outline planning permission for the redevelopment of the former steelworks site was granted by Durham County Council in November 2021.

The land was used for steelworks from 1864 and saw continuous operation until its closure in 2008.

Bellway Durham plans to create a development which will feature several open spaces and a central green alongside the new homes.

Helen Russell, Land Director at Bellway Durham, said: “We are pleased to have exchanged contracts for the acquisition of this former steelworks site, with a detailed application for our plans currently pending consideration by Durham County Council.

The Northern Echo: The site layout from Bellway The site layout from Bellway (Image: BELLWAY)

“This development would see us transform a vacant brownfield site and bring much-needed housing to the local area. Subject to detailed planning approval, we will be delivering a mix of high-quality two, three, four and five-bedroom properties which will meet the needs of a range of homebuyers, including first-time buyers, growing families and older people. Each home will have PV solar panels.

“The collection of houses on this development would include 12 affordable homes to give people in Wolsingham, who might not be able to afford to buy their own home, the chance to secure a new place to live close to family and friends.

She added: “We aim to create a family-friendly development, which blends in seamlessly with its surroundings, bordered by the River Wear. The existing hedgerow that runs along the river will be retained where possible and enhanced on the site, while new trees will be planted.

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“A central primary tree-lined street would bring visitors onto the site where the design of the homes will be sympathetic to the rural setting and will reflect the local architecture. This is a sustainable location for new housing, with a range of facilities in the village of Wolsingham, including a primary and a secondary school, a pharmacy and a convenience store.”

Bellway Durham has exchanged contracts for the site with regeneration specialists BXB.

BXB director Gary Goodman, added: “We’ve worked hard to reach this point and I’m pleased with the outcome, which will leave a positive legacy for a site that’s blighted the village for far too long.  My thanks go to all the local people who backed our proposals.”