PLANS to demolish a former police building in Yarm and replace it with 36 flats were turned down by councillors on Wednesday.

Stockton Borough Council's planning committee refused permission for the one- and two-bedroomed apartments on land between High Church Wynd and The Old Market.

Nineteen residents objected to the plans because of fears over congestion, loss of privacy and parking problems.

Yarm Town Council agreed with residents and objected on the grounds that there would be insufficient parking, the unsuitability of roads for heavy construction traffic, and an increase in congestion.

A report by planning officials said the proposal involved the demolition of the former police building, a wall, garage and some trees.

"While the historic buildings officer and English Heritage would prefer this building remains, it is not a listed building and its removal is necessary for the scheme as a whole to proceed," it said.

"The new building is also designed to reflect the architecture of the police building and the development of the site to remove an area of scrub land for the benefit of the conservation area as a whole outweighs its demolition.

But committee members felt the plans would lead to over-development and would not be in keeping with the conservation area.