PLANS to demolish a former infant school to make way for housing are expected to be approved when councillors meet this week.

Chilton County Primary School, near Ferryhill, has been closed since Durham County Council amalgamated it with the old Chilton Junior School.

It has been boarded up ever since and is fast becoming an eyesore in the north end of the town, according to many local residents.

Now plans have been submitted to demolish the Victorian building to make way for a development of 21 detached and semi-detached houses.

The proposals by Hall Construction Services, from Rushyford, south Durham, are likely to get the go ahead if councillors agree with officers' recommendations at Sedgefield Borough Council's development control committee, when it meets on Friday morning.

Detailed planning permission is being sought for the development, which would retain the playing field located to the rear of the site.

Access to the site would be provided from The Crescent and the existing access to the school will be brought up to adoptable standards.

Residents in the town are said to welcome the development as a long-awaited investment for the area.

If the plan is approved, the council will be asking the construction company for a contribution of £13,000 towards a playing area.

No such scheme has been identified at present, but the money will be put aside until an idea is designed that will benefit the whole of the Chilton community. One of the council's conditions of approving the scheme will be that demolition does not take place until approval has been granted by the council.

Planning officers say that they want to keep an eye on the process so there will be as little disruption as possible to nearby residents