THE final permission needed to begin the regeneration of a Darlington estate is expected to be given next week.

An application for outline planning permission to build housing on the site of the former Firthmoor Primary School will go before Darlington Borough Council's planning committee on Wednesday.

Councillors are expected to agree to the plan under delegated powers which will mean 413 homes can be built on the estate.

"It will be the last piece of the jigsaw from a planning point of view," said council planner Adrian Miller.

Permission for housing on the regeneration site to replace 387 demolished homes was granted in October.

But developers Haslam Homes and Barratt Homes had to make a separate application for the school site because of an objection from Sport England.

"They objected to the loss of playing fields," said Mr Miller. "Sport England has now accepted that the replacement playing pitch at the new school has resulted in an improvement in playing pitch provision."

Councillor Roderick Francis said residents were excited about the prospect of regeneration.

"There have been some niggly problems and there are still negotiations going on," he said. "But people are starting to ask questions and taking notice. The community is really buzzing."