A COUNCIL leader has said that dozens – perhaps hundreds – of trees cut down to make way for a housing development are all covered by planning permission.

Anger is growing in Darlington about the sheer numbers of trees cut down on the former Blackwell Golf Course to make way for a 59-home development.

Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: "I checked yesterday and confirm the only trees removed were those agreed by the planning committee last year."

He went on to say: "DBC received £663,000 from the developer which will assist with the move of the cattle mart. It will be used to fund social housing at Neasham Road."

It emerged this week that Rockliffe Hall Hotel had offered to transplant some of the trees to its golf course, but the former golf club wanted to protect them in the current habitat.

Avenues of trees on the site and along Carmel Road have gone, after contractors were brought in to cut many of them down.