PLANS for a log cabin-style visitor centre at a Ferryhill quarry were approved by Sedgefield Borough Council on Friday.

The countryside education visitors centre will be built on land provided by Lafarge at the Thrislington plantation, near West Cornforth.

The centre, which will cost about £300,000, includes a reception area, meeting room, classroom, offices and storage areas.

There will also be a car park for 20 vehicles and a bus lay-by to serve the centre.

Thrislington Plantation is a National Nature Reserve and there are a series of Sites of Nature Conservation Interest nearby.

The neighbouring Ferryhill Carrs is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Steetly Ponds is also of conservation interest.

A report to the council's development control committee said: "These sites together with the surrounding public rights of way network from an integral part of the proposal to facilitate outdoor and countryside education immediately from the classroom into the local environment.

"This direct benefit could not easily be achieved if the building were located at considerable distance from these sites, such as within Cornforth village itself."

The committee agreed to the plan after officers recommended approval.