A bid to build a new affordable housing estate in a County Durham town has been refused. 

Plans for 32 affordable and eight self-build homes had been lodged for a site in Delves Lane, Consett. 

The applicant, Ray Mansell, said there is a “massive deficiency” of affordable housing in County Durham and hoped to provide new homes for those in need. 

Proposed to be built on land to the south of Greenways Court Care Home, a significant development of 288 homes has already been approved on nearby land. The site in question is currently owned by Mr Mansell but leased to Durham County Council. 

The Northern Echo: Where the new homes would have been built in Delves Lane, Consett Where the new homes would have been built in Delves Lane, Consett (Image: Handout)

The make-up of the homes includes: 

  • Eight self-build units
  • Eight two-bed bungalows
  • 12 two-bed houses
  • 12 three-bed houses

However, the plans faced significant opposition from residents. Of the 113 responses received following notification of the proposal, 112 objected and one was neutral. Residents warned there would be a loss of open and recreational space and worried the site would become overdeveloped. There would also be increased pressure on local services and traffic on nearby roads, residents said. 

In a statement, submitted as part of the application, Mr Mansell said: “Durham is one of the most needy councils in England with regard to a massive deficiency of affordable housing and that the only method of recording it that seems to be used is new affordable housing on the back of market housing schemes. That is a very important consideration within the planning balance.

“The neighbouring approval for mainly market housing (nearly 300 units) was approved by the council outside development limits on a greenfield site, whereas this proposal is for mainly affordable units within development limits.

“The new proposed development has less open space overall, but it is of much higher quality and pedestrian links through the site will be retained.”

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However, Durham County Council’s planning authority also urged committee members to refuse the application.

The residents’ concerns were supported by Durham County Council, who said the development failed to “demonstrate the need for the level of affordable housing proposed on this site” and “would fail to make financial contributions necessary to mitigate the impact of the development on local education and healthcare facilities.”

Mr Mansell was contacted for comment.