Impassioned pleas from residents hoping to protect a village near Darlington from further expansion failed to convince councillors to refuse plans for 260 more homes. 

Housing developer Story Homes will build the new estate on land near Station Road, to the north of Middleton St George. 

But the plans faced fierce opposition from the local community, which warned the village is struggling to cope with an influx of residents over recent years. 

Darlington Borough Council received 57 objections to the proposal. Concerns included traffic and parking issues, location of affordable housing, and the impact on the local school. 

The Northern Echo: How the new homes could look How the new homes could look (Image: Story Homes)The site is allocated for housing in the Darlington Local Plan. 

The mix of bungalows and family homes within the hundreds of new homes sets the development apart from other sites, the developer said. 

Yet discussion over the application was largely dominated by residents’ opposition. Parish councillor Simon Pleydell told members: “We don’t just oppose this application we strongly oppose it. 

“The population as a whole in Middleton St George has lost faith that you listen to them. Both this application and others have failed to take into account the impact on the whole community. 

“The expansion of Middleton St George over the last 20 years has been massive.”

Cllr Colin Pease, of Middleton St George and Sadberge, said the term village to describe the area is now used loosely given it is approaching 10,000 residents and warned of up to 400 more vehicles on the village’s already busy roads.

He added: “We feel we are used as a cash cow for council tax and developer profit.” 

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The Northern Echo: The proposed layout for the new housing estate The proposed layout for the new housing estate (Image: Story Homes)

Meanwhile, Green party cllr Thomas Robinson hit out at the committee’s decision-making powers. He said: “I am getting fed up, this is becoming an officer-led planning committee. It feels like officers are cosying up with housing developers. I wholly oppose this plan and urge members to take control of this committee rather than offices.” 

But in approving the plans, cllr Libby McCollom said: “This committee does listen despite what some members say.” 

Construction work on the new estate is due to start later this year.