Plans approved for 40 new homes at Bowburn near Integra 61 development

PROPOSALS for dozens of new homes have been given the green light by Durham County Council planners.

Earlier this year, Ravensworth Property Developments LLP applied to the authority to build up to 40 homes on former farmland at Bowburn.

The site sits west of the A688, opposite Durham Services, and is described in planning documents as the “last piece of the jigsaw” in the wider Integra 61 masterplan.

The development, near junction 61 of the A1 (M), includes several large industrial and warehouse units alongside a range of residential and leisure opportunities.

It is also expected to create thousands of jobs for the region with high-profile tenants already including internet retailer Amazon.

During consultation on the housing plan, a total of six objections were lodged.

This included a representation from Lichfields, on behalf of the owner of the Integra 61 development Citrus Durham Ltd, which stated that “the correct notices on land ownership had not been served.”

The statement also raised concerns about highway safety and claimed “inadequate submissions” were made in regard to noise – with a need for a full assessment which takes into account the “worst-case scenario” from Integra 61.

Concerns included the potential of more homes “reducing the marketability and flexibility of accommodating future occupiers.”

Despite the comments, Durham County Council’s planning authority approved the housing scheme on Monday, October 19.

While planners admitted there would be a “minor degree of harm” due to the loss of countryside land, they said the scheme was acceptable on balance.

Positives included the provision of affordable housing, accessible/adaptable homes and direct and indirect economic benefits.

These ranged from spending in the local economy to the creation of construction jobs.

In a decision report, planners went on to say: “The proposal has generated some limited public interest.

“The objections and concerns raised have been taken into account and addressed within the report.On balance the concerns raised are not felt to be of sufficient weight to justify refusal of this application in light of the benefits of the scheme and the ability to impose conditions and secure planning obligations under section 106 (S106) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).”

The planning approval is subject to a S106 legal agreement which will help secure funds from developers towards 20 per cent affordable housing and 10 per cent accessible/adaptable homes.

Other contributions include £82,770 towards secondary school accommodation, £19,320 towards medical/GP surgery accommodation and £82,966 towards off-site open space /recreation provision.

As part of the outline planning application, a mixture of two to five-bedroom homes are planned with access to the estate taken from the A688.

Before the houses can be built, a further application detailing layout, landscaping, appearance and scale will need to be approved by council planners.

Drainage arrangements for the site will also be discussed at this ‘reserved matters’ stage.

The Northern Echo | Durham