A DEVELOPMENT that would signal the end of a village's brewing tradition is likely to take a step closer today.

District councillors in Easington are recommended to give conditional approval to plans to build executive housing and apartments on land adjacent to Castle Eden Brewery, near Peterlee, east Durham.

Should the proposals be given the go-ahead, it would enable the brewery to transfer operations to the Cameron's Lion Brewery site, in Hartlepool, in a planned take-over by Castle Eden.

The deal is subject to the applicant, Charles Church North-East, being given approval for the housing development.

But the scheme, in an area with conservation status, is opposed by village residents, the parish council and the Castle Eden Society.

They claim the addition of 41 five-bedroom homes and 13 two-bedroom flats would increase the village's housing stock by 45 per cent.

Members of the district council hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the proposals today.

The council's head of planning and building services, Ian Forster, is urging recommendation, but only with a set of stringent conditions attached.

These include a request for further information on a noise survey at the site and extra details on demolition works in the vicinity of listed brewery buildings.

The county council's specialist design and survey officer has also requested more information, including details of a tree surgery.

Should the application be given consent from councillors today, it will have to be brought to the attention of Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, who may wish to "call in" the plans for inspection or refer them back to the district council for inspection.

Mr Forster's report to councillors concludes: "Taking all matters into account, the proposals are considered, on balance, to represent an acceptable form of development principle.

"It is considered, however, that further information is needed on the noise impact, to demonstrate whether the whole of the site is capable of being developed as proposed, without significant adverse affects."

Today's meeting takes place in the council chamber, at the Seaside Lane council offices, at noon.