Families and town leaders are celebrating a victory after a housing development was turned down for the third time.
Belway Homes applied to build 75 homes next to Dalton Heights, in Seaham, on farm land which borders the A19, but was refused permission at a meeting which saw residents in tears as they pleaded for it to be declined.
It was the latest application by the company, after the first in 1997 was turned down by District of Easington Council, and on appeal to the Government, and then turned down again by Durham County Council in 2014.
The latest, a reduced scheme from the 134 homes applied for on the last occasion, had been recommended for approval by county council planning officers, but members of the county planning committee sided with residents and Seaham Town Council, which raised a host of concerns about the use of the site.
These included the exacerbation of traffic issues in the area, including the roundabout outside the existing Dalton Heights estate at the top of the Times Inn Bank, and loss of green land which creates a break between the town and Dalton-le-Dale.
Ed Mason, a former town council leader and resident of Dalton Heights, was among those who spoke at a meeting of the county planning committee to voice concerns.
We hope the county council make sure that no other applications are submitted for that land and it is not developed in future.Deputy town clerk Paul Fletcher
He said: “People will think we were against it because of a loss of views, but it is far from that.
“There are issues ranging from major traffic problems, which will make peoples lives a total misery because this would be so close to people’s houses, loss of wildlife habitat, flooding in Dalton-le-Dale and encroachment into the countryside which would reduce the individuality of it as a community.
“They will have the right to appeal, but the councillors gave good grounds for refusing it.
“That piece of land is a gateway to the town as you come in, seen from the A19, it leads to the Heritage Coast and it’s so valuable.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
“We hope the field will be there for future generations.
“They need to build on brown land, not green land.
“Belway can work with the community and work with the council and we will help them build new houses.”
Deputy town clerk Paul Fletcher represented the town council at the meeting, where Dalton-le-Dale Parish Council also objected.
He said: “People were very worried and broke down crying as they spoke at the meeting.
“We hope the county council make sure that no other applications are submitted for that land and it is not developed in future.”
Planners had recommended the scheme on the basis 10% of the two, three and four-bed homes were to be affordable.