PLANS for a new residential development have won the backing of the North-East’s leading business membership organisation.

The North East England Chamber of Commerce has written to Durham County Council in support of Banks Property’s plans to the north of the A67 Darlington Road, around a mile to the north east of Barnard Castle town centre.

The project would entail up to 100 family homes being built on a 5.5 hectare site, and would also include direct access to existing public transport routes, new landscaping and enhancement of wildlife habitats, and an electric vehicle charging point installed at all homes.

The North East England Chamber of Commerce represents more than 3,000 businesses of all sizes across in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and the Tees Valley.

Policy director Jonathan Walker said: “There is a shortage of homes across the UK, including in County Durham, and an increase in quality housing in the region will help to attract people to live and work in the region, which will in turn support the local economy.

“Ensuring that there is affordable quality housing is also particularly important to ensure that everyone can access the housing ladder, especially younger people and families.

“Investment in the North-East in these difficult economic times is needed to create jobs, give confidence to businesses, and encourage people to live in the region.”

If plans are approved, around 60 full-time jobs would be supported on site during its construction period, with a further 90 jobs being indirectly supported through substantial investment in the regional supply chain.

A decision on the development is expected in the next few months.