A FORMER school which was knocked down after it was controversially closed is set to be turned into a housing estate.

Chapter Homes has put forward a planning application to build 60 houses on the site the former Durham Gilesgate Sports College, which was later used as Durham Free School before it was closed by the secretary of state in 2015.

The site in Bradford Crescent has been disused since Durham Gilesgate Youth and Community Association (DGYCA), which had been using the school building, folded in late 2015.

Belmont Parish Council is holding a public meeting next week to give people a chance to have a say on the proposals.

Chapter Homes has submitted a planning application to Durham County Council to build 60 homes on the 2.5 acre site, which if approved, will include a combination of two, three and four bedroom houses.

The development would include 15 “affordable homes”, of which six would be bungalows aimed at older people.

The playing fields, which were safeguarded in 2016, when the school buildings were demolished, do not form part of the development site.

Dennis Southwell, chairman of Belmont Parish Council, urged as many people as possible to attend the meeting, or to write to the parish council to give their views.

He said: "Two or three people have approached me and are very positive but we would like to hear views from as many people as possible."

He added: "I personally would have preferred the whole of the site to be developed. I would like more of a green area for people and put some seats in. The green area at the back is going to be stuck like an old thumb."

A statement by Chapter Homes said: "Overall the scheme provides a high quality of development in a sustainable location with good links to local facilities and amenities.

"The proposed scheme has a clear identity and is sympathetic in density, scale and style to the surrounding context and will benefit the local area by providing high quality residential accommodation."

The site was home to Durham Gilesgate Sports College until it closed amid falling rolls and budget cuts in summer 2013.

Durham Free School, a Christian academy, controversially moved in that September, but was closed 18 months later amid claims of racism, sexism and homophobia.

The public meeting takes place at Belmont Community Centre at 5.30pm on Thursday, August 29.