A CAR dealership at the centre of a row over its bid to create a forecourt has again been told to re-think its plans.

Stoneacre wants to turn open land in Sawmills Lane, Brandon, into a display area for its vehicles.

But it has run into opposition from residents who say its operations are causing parking and traffic problems in the area.

The firm's plans were deferred by Durham County councillors in July for a more acceptable scheme to be devised.

Yesterday, the latest plans were again deferred by the central and east area planning committee after a bid to have the scheme thrown out was defeated.

The committee heard that Stoneacre was proposing to increase the amount of on-site parking for staff and customers to answer concerns about parking on the street.

Principal planning officer James Taylor said no-waiting restrictions were due to be introduced in the street shortly.

Mr Taylor said: "We have had meetings and officers are of the opinion that this is a very good compromise going forward.''

But councillors heard that four letters of objection had been sent saying that the revised scheme should have more car parking.

Stephen Longstaff, agent for the company, said it felt its plan was the only way of improving the traffic problems.

But local councillor Paul Taylor urged the committee to refuse permission, saying that Stoneacre had never tried to integrate itself into the community until it lodged the planning application.

He said mothers with pushchairs had been forced to walk in the road because of bad parking by visitors to the garage, some wheelchair users had been unable to get past and there had been one or two "near misses''.

He said the proposals would help it to sell more cars but would do nothing to ease the traffic problems and could make them worse.

"I believe it is a big mistake to approve this application," he said.

Durham South councillor Jan Blakey said: "Granting permission will not solve the problems down there. It will take more than this.''

But councillors voted for deferment and more talks after hearing that planning officers wanted this.