PROPOSALS to expand a caravan park have been given the go-ahead by councillors.

In June, a planning application was lodged with Durham County Council for the Winston Bridge Caravan Park, between Winston and Ovington.

This includes redeveloping land off Ovington Lane to make way for 36 new static caravan and/or lodge pitches.

Proposals included demolishing bungalow, garage and workshop buildings on site.

And applicants behind the scheme, E & M Richmond Ltd, argued the extension would have major tourism benefits.

During council consultation, the plans attracted two objections from neighbouring residents.

Issues included the site being in an area of “high landscape value”, the lack of public transport and additional noise and traffic.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England also said the extension would have an “unacceptable impact on the county’s valuable natural heritage”.

Despite concerns, the council’s area planning committee approved planning permission last Thursday.

Councillor John Shuttleworth welcomed the plans and creation of three full-time jobs.

Cllr George Richardson said: “I’m disappointed to see we have two local objections but there are no objections from all statutory respondents.

“It can only be beneficial if (the extension) is done sympathetically which I think it will be.”

The plan will be delivered in three phases including 11 new pitches to the south east of the existing reception building. Phase two would involve a further 11 pitches and an internal access road to the south eastern side of the site. The final phase would provide a further 14 pitches, a new reception building and car parking.

Councillors were told tree planting would done around all phases of the development and that the plans will help meet a demand for visitor accommodation in the county identified by tourism management agency, Visit County Durham.