OBJECTORS who hope to defeat controversial planning applications have been told ‘feelings don’t cut it’ when trying to fend off developers.

Instead, protestors should make sure they arm themselves with ‘facts and statistics’ to make sure they can see off unpopular proposals for good.

The advice was dished out by Councillor John Clare, chairman of Durham County Council’s Area Planning Committee (south and west) as it turned down an application for 31 homes on a flood-prone site near Quarry Farm Close, in Hunwick.

Villagers in Hunwick again fight plan for houses on field

At Thursday's meeting in Spennymoor, he said: “The [planning] officers are proposing four grounds on which we turn this down, although I’m aware other grounds for refusal have been suggested, such as the fact affordable housing is not included and feelings over highways.

“But feelings don’t cut it.

“The work of the highways department is based on facts and statistics, there’s no point saying ‘we know that road’ because if you go to a further stage and you're depending on feelings and the other side turns up with statistics then you will be defeated.”

The applicant Gleeson Regeneration Limited had sought permission to build on two fields north of Quarry Farm Close, which would provide access to the site.

The firm's proposal for the 0.83hectare site included seven three-bedroom detached properties, with the rest of the development a made up of a mixture of two and three-bedroom semi-detached houses.

Planning officers said the scheme would improve the area’s housing supply, but also noted ‘limited’ existing services in the village and criticised the planned layout.

Councillor Fraser Tinsley said: “Hunwick is not a community of nimbys, Hunwick has taken its fair share of development– they’re not just saying no to development in any circumstances.

“But there have been significant concerns raised and over 130 letters of objection sent in.”

Cllr Tinsley was also supported by his fellow councillor for the Willington and Hunwick ward, Olwyn Gunn, the county council’s cabinet member for children and young people’s services, who raised concerns about access to the site.

Members of the panel agreed to reject the application.