PLANS to increase the size of a housing development could win permission despite traffic safety fears.

Persimmon Homes North-East already has approval to build 60 homes on land south of Castlehills, Castleside, near Consett, County Durham.

Now it is asking Derwentside District Council to allow it to build a further 11 homes.

However, people living nearby are worried that the extra traffic the development will generate will pose a threat to safety on the nearby A692 Consett Road.

Eight letters of objection have been sent to the council and Healeyfield Parish Council is opposing the extension on traffic grounds.

Today, the council's development control committee will be recommended to approve the scheme, which involves changing some of the house types originally planned.

A report to the committee says that highways officials at Durham County Council would prefer the total number of houses to stay at 60.

But they say that the extra 11 homes would not generate sufficient traffic to require a protected junction into the estate.

Last year the council refused the company's application to build 75 homes on the site. The firm lodged an appeal, the outcome of which is awaited.