PLANNERS have deferred a decision on a plan to build a new sewage treatment pumping station after receiving more than 150 letters of protest.

But Redcar and Cleveland borough councillors agreed an existing pumping station in Marske can be extended.

Northumbrian Water wants to extend the pumping station, build a further one and build two monitoring kiosks in Marske in order to comply with new Government regulations.

The company says it needs to improve the current treatment system, located on the coast to the rear of Bydales School, because of the problem of storm sewage spills. The company, which would also install an underground tank that does not need permission, argues that discharges in storms mean the beach and coastal waters do not pass European Union clean bathing waters tests.

Councillors organised a site visit for earlier this week when the scheme first came before the planning committee.

A total of 116 letters of objection and a petition signed by 105 people were sent to the council before the company's official application. Since then two people have written to complain about the pumping station extension, 40 to protest against building a new station and four letters were received against new monitoring kiosks.

Protesters felt the works would be an eyesore, would destroy wildlife and plants, be a health hazard and smell.

The vote was split on the extension and chairman Helen McLuckie used her casting vote to approve the measure. The applications to build the two monitoring kiosks were also approved.

However, councillors deferred the decision on a new pumping station. The committee instructed council officers to write to Northumbrian Water requesting it to consider building the station at a nearby, more sheltered, location.