A DEVELOPER has said it will work with local people after a controversial application for 27 houses in a Teesdale village was refused.

Teesdale District Council's planning committee refused the application by Harlequin Property Developments for 27 homes at Bridge Street, Middleton in Teesdale, despite a request for the application to be deferred.

Harlequin has said it was still keen to carry the development forward.

The application had been recommended for refusal by planning officers because of concerns including road access, the design of the houses and the impact on residents living nearby

Harlequin had asked for the planning committee to defer a decision on the application so it could work on an amended design.

However, councillors felt any amendments would be so major, it would warrant a separate application.

Middleton councillor Richard Betton criticised Government guidelines which imposed a minimum number of houses on the site.

He said: "I feel very, very strongly that some of the Government's guidelines are forcing local authorities to put battery-style accommodation in a rural location, which is not in accord with the vernacular architecture of local villages."

Paul Sowerby, from Harlequin, said he was disappointed with the decision as the company had been developing the scheme since last November. He said he felt Middleton needed the development and the company was carrying out an internal consultation to decide on the way forward.

Mr Sowerby said: "In conclusion as a company, we will not ride roughshod over the local community concerns and will address all issues."