A PUBLIC meeting will be held to discuss a proposal for houses at Hunwick, six months after a similar scheme was refused planning permission.

Last July, Durham County Council rejected an application by Gleeson Homes and Regeneration for 31 houses north of Quarry Farm Close. It was felt the development would encroach into the countryside, fail to enhance the area, not promote accessibility via a choice of transport modes and would result in inadequate levels of privacy and amenity for residents. The site had already been removed from the County Plan allocations when it was deemed unsuitable due to flood risk.

The developer has now drawn up new plans for 25 houses– a mix of two, three and four-bedroom two storey properties with garages.

In a planning statement submitted with the application, Gleeson Homes and Regeneration said the site is in a long established residential neighbourhood, within easy reach of community facilities with good public and private transport links.

About 130 objections were submitted against the previous application and more than 50 have been lodged against the new plan since it was submitted in early-December.

Objectors’ fears include the increased risk of road flooding, as the field acts as an attenuation pond slowing down the flow of water and helping prevent flooding.

There are also concerns that 25 new homes could bring 50 extra cars to the village as public transport is limited in the area and the roads are not suited to the increase. Objectors’ says plans do not help fulfil the Council’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions.

Peter Hughes from Hunwick Residents Group said: “This is a calculated attempt by Gleeson Homes to abuse the planning system in order to limit the democratic opportunity for residents to be properly consulted and to comment on their proposal. It is a Christmas present to the residents of Hunwick and demonstrates their contempt for the views of the community.

Durham County Councillor Fraser Tinsley said: “It was the right decision to refuse planning permission back in July for a virtually identical proposal on this land. Both Councillor Olwyn Gunn and I opposed that application and are opposing this application. This land is not appropriate for housing development. We stand 100 per cent behind residents and their objections.”

The public meeting will be held at Hunwick Working Mens Club, on Monday, at 6pm.