A CONTROVERSIAL housing scheme for land on the outskirts of a village has been approved on the condition that around £500,000 is put into local services.

Avant Homes has been given permission to build 65 homes on land at Benridge Bank, in West Rainton.

People living nearby had complained about road safety at the site, which is close to the A690, including 83-year-old Alice Leak, who lives opposite.

She said: “I’m terrified to drive out because cars drive so fast around the bend. I’m not complaining about the houses but where the entrance and exit is.”

West Rainton Parish Council objected to the plans while the village’s primary school also expressed concern about its capacity, particularly at the nursery.

As part of the agreement, Avant will give £175,000 to upgrade the GP surgery, £130,752 to provide teaching space at Belmont Community School, £6,000 to improve the bus stop and £122,460 to improve open space.

Durham County Council says the primary school has sufficient capacity to cater for extra children and therefore funds could not be secured for its benefit.

The contribution to the GP surgery will allow a £213,000 expansion to go ahead, which was dropped because it was unaffordable.

Tom Baker, speaking on behalf of Avant, said: “We recognise some residents have expressed some concerns.

“However, many residents have also revealed support for the development, recognising the impact of new family homes and the impact these contributions will bring to local infrastructure.”