RESIDENTS concerned over plans to create an elderly care home on a former primary school site have taken part in a public meeting.

North Durham MP Kevan Jones called the meeting so people could discuss new plans for the former Greenland Community School site in South Moor, Stanley.

Durham County Council has received a new application for the Edwardian building, which was severely damaged by fire in June this year.

The application has been submitted by Dhari Al Mutawa from the We Care 4 group, which was formed in May, to create a residential care home with 109 rooms for elderly people.

London-based Iraqi businessman Bashar Al-Issa, a convicted fraudster who had previously proposed creating a 109-bed hostel for vulnerable adults, has said the plan is nothing to do with him.

But Mr Jones said the applications were similar.

He said: “This application has caused tremendous anxiety among residents and looking at the plans it looks remarkable similar to one put in last year for the hostel in the area.

“People are clearly concerned about the proposals.”

The meeting was held at the new South Moor Greenland Community Primary School on Thursday evening and attended by around 60 people.

The plans include converting 30 classrooms to into bedrooms as well as facilities including a library and reading room, computer room, dining room, Skype room, cafe, restaurant, male and female hair dressers, business centre, laundry room, games room, day room, male and female spa, guest rooms, conference room, meeting room and manager’s room.

Mr Jones urged people register their own opposition to the scheme before a decision is made by councillors.

It is understood people have until mid-October to register their views.

Mr Jones said: “I have already written in with my objections and I would encourage as many of my constituents to do individual objections as well.

“The important thing is to get them in to the planning committee before they decide on it.”