Housing estate plans rejected

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AMBITIOUS plans to build 168 houses and a new community hall on the outskirts of a village have been turned down.

The owner of a field near the Castlefields estate, Bournmoor, claimed the development – also including shops and a nursery – would enhance the village.

A meeting of Durham County Council’s planning committee at Chester-le-Street civic centre rejected the application after being told it was on green belt land.

Planning consultant Joe Ridgen, who addressed the meeting on behalf of Castlefield Residents’ Association, said: “It is not a special development, it is an ordinary housing estate and the added community facilities are just a sop to get planning permission.

“There is a perfectly good village hall in Bournmoor and the residents do not want another one.”

The meeting was told council planning officials had been negotiating with the owner of the 21-acre field for four years over its development.

Most planning objections had been overcome, but the presumption against building on the green belt remained which meant the council’s planning department recommended refusal.

The developer’s architect Frank Hodgson said the green belt boundary was an arbitrary one which ran across open land, but it would be logical for it to follow the path of a road.

The committee voted unanimously to refuse the application.