COUNCILLORS have argued over the details of plans to build dozens of new homes on a former golf course.

Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee approved plans to build 59 new homes on land at the former Blackwell Golf Course – but not before some councillors urged details of the plans to be changed to reflect the concerned views of residents.

The plans include the build of executive homes with a “green lung” of open space passing through the centre of the site, which runs along Carmel Road South.

Two of the homes in the development, known as property 40 and 41, came under the most scrutiny, as residents backing onto the proposed site said they would just see “10 metres of solid red bricks” and their privacy and space would be “obliterated”.

But David Coates, the council’s principal planning officer, said the gap of around 21 metres was already “quite generous”.

In an attempt to defer the application to allow the developers to consider moving property 40 and 41, Gerald Lee, ward councillor for Heighington and Coniscliffe, said: “It will satisfy the objectors, there will be happy residents and its Christmas.”

But Cllr Paul Baldwin, chair of the committee, moved a motion to approve the plans, which were passed six votes to five, to the despair of Cllr Lee.

Lorraine Tostevin, ward councillor for Hurworth, said: “It is a shame to have such a fabulous scheme with the exception of 40 and 41.”

Julie Hunter, representing applicant Story Homes, said: “We recognise the loss of a community asset like the golf course but we endeavour to create the best development we can.”

Tracey Matthews, former chair of Blackwell Neighbourhood Forum, said: “We have never not wanted development on there – we totally accept it has to be done – it is about specific things.

“There are not enough bungalows – it is an elderly demographic – we put faith in the council to do what we want.”

Supporting Ms Matthews, Heather Scott, opposition leader, said the addition of bungalows instead of some of the four or five bedroom properties proposed would be a “very sensible idea”

“The committee should accept the development goes ahead on that site but also take on board what the residents said because they are minor alterations.”

Paul Ibbertson, the council's engineer within services for growth, said he “wouldn’t like to see” roadworks before 9.30am and 3.30pm when work starts on the development, which will include a “right turn pocket” on Carmel Road South to enter the estate.