A CONTROVERSIAL planning application to extend a bungalow has been approved.

Teesdale District Council has approved plans to extend Cherry Trees, in Lartington, despite objections from neighbours that the extension would be too large.

The applicant, Digby Harris, had a similar application refused by the council last year and this was due to be the subject of an appeal on Tuesday.

The latest application has the same external appearance as that which was refused permission, but has been redesigned internally.

Objector Sylvia Evans said the proposed extension is "completely out of character" with the village

She said: "Not only will this have a detrimental visual impact, but an enormous effect on the amenity of the adjoining properties."

An agent acting for Mr Harris said he needed the extension because he had suffered a stroke and was often confined to a wheelchair and therefore needed more space for him and, possibly, a carer.

She said if the council was to refuse the application, there could be implications under the Human Rights Act.

She said: "To discriminate against somebody is unlawful. He needs ground-floor accommodation on the site he owns and which he inherited from his father."

The council's planning committee approved the extension, but made conditions relating to the hours of work and also future development at the site.

Mr Harris said he intends to drop his appeal against the earlier refusal.