PLANNERS have deferred a decision about a controversial plan to build a sewage pumping station near homes after receiving more than 150 letters of protest.

But Redcar and Cleveland borough councillors agreed that a pumping station in Marske can be extended.

Northumbrian Water wants to extend the sewage pumping station, build another and build two monitoring kiosks in Marske to comply with new Government regulations.

The water company said it needed to improve the sewage treatment system, near Bydales School, because of the problem of sewage spills during heavy rain.

The company said that discharges during storms meant the beach and coastal waters did not pass clean European Union bathing waters tests.

Councillors this week agreed to hold a site visit after hearing protests.

A total of 160 letters and a petition signed by 105 people was sent to the council against the proposals even before the company's official application.

Protestors argue that the works would constitute an eyesore, would destroy wildlife and plants, would be a health hazard and would smell.

On the extension to the existing pump house, the vote was split and the chairman, Councillor Helen McLuckie, used her casting vote to approve the measure.

The applications to build the two monitoring kiosks were also approved.

The council is to ask Northumbrian Water to consider building the station at a nearby location.

Coun McLuckie said: "We think there are other options available and we would like Northumbrian Water to look at that."