PLANS have been unveiled for a major housing development on agricultural land next to a village.

Taylor Wimpey has applied to Durham County Council for permission to build 165 new homes to the west of Valley Road, Pelton Fell, near Chester-le-Street .

Objectors argue that existing facilities in the village will not be able to cope with the size of the expansion, while supports say it will revitalise the community.

The new development will provide a range of two-storey family housing, and includes 25 affordable homes.

Access to the site will be gained from Bluehouse Bank through a new road created on the development’s northern boundary.

The developer said extensive areas of public open space are proposed across this site, while hedgerows and habitats on the site boundaries will be enhanced.

Resident Peter Green, one of the objectors who lodged an appeal on the council’s planning portal, said: “Although we have no objections to more houses being built, as there is a desperate need there are several reasons why we feel the planning should not go ahead.

“The infrastructure is not in place to accommodate the dwellings, roads through Chester-le street are already very congested, the two doctors’ surgeries are fully booked, schools are over subscribed and green spaces will be lost destroying a beautiful open wild area.”

Pelton Fell Community Partnership secretary Colin Reynolds said: “The partnership is in favour of the development.

“Our view is that if it is successful we see it as improving the overall viability of the village and helping maintain the existing community facilities.

“The development will increase the size of the village by about 20 per cent and there are possibilities of future development which will increase it even more.”

A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey North East said: “Further to our public consultation event at the end of November, we have submitted a planning application for 165 homes at Bluehouse Bank.

“As part of the works, Taylor Wimpey has outlined provisions to be made to the local community to support the increased demand for infrastructure in the area, including healthcare and education provisions, as well as transport and public open spaces.

“We will be keeping the public informed of updates as we have further information from Durham County Council.”