Bellway Durham has been given the green light to build 145 new homes on a historic country estate in Chester-le-Street.

The housebuilder is to deliver the properties at Hedworths Green at Lambton Park, on the 1,200-acre Lambton Estate, the ancestral seat of the Earls of Durham and home to Biddick Hall and Lambton Castle, which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries respectively.

Bellway’s detailed plans for the development, just off the A183 Chester Road, have been approved by Durham County Council.

The Bellway development will feature a bespoke range of two-bedroom apartments and three, four and five-bedroom houses, alongside public open space including a village green with a traditional-style butter cross.

Jon Horan, Managing Director of Bellway Durham, said: “We have worked incredibly hard on this project with the Lambton Park team to bring forward their vision for this phase of the development.  Centred around a large village green, the scheme delivers much-needed new housing and reflects the historic surroundings of Lambton Park.

“Residents, who will get to live in an incredibly desirable location, will witness the restoration of an historic site first-hand with an ongoing programme bringing key features of the park into sustainable new uses. Homebuyers will also be able to make use of the eight miles of public footpaths on the estate to explore the nature, landscape and heritage of the area.”

The new homes are situated on the site of the former Lambton Lion Park, which was open at the Lambton Estate between 1972 and 1980 and was popular with visitors who flocked to see lions, hippos, giraffes, elephants and zebra.

Outline planning permission for the redevelopment of the lion park site – including approximately 400 new homes, as well as office space, retail and community facilities – was granted by Durham County Council in 2016.

The redevelopment project is leading to investment in the heritage assets of Lambton Park and the restoration of significant buildings such as the Lamb Bridge, the Castle and Stables.

Jon said: “This is a very exciting project helping to bring new life into a much-loved historic site which holds a special place in the hearts of local people. We anticipate that the wide range of properties we are delivering at the site will appeal to a variety of purchasers.

“Hedworths Green at Lambton Park is not only situated in beautiful surroundings but is well positioned for easy access to a wide range of amenities. The shops, bars and restaurants of Chester-le-Street are just two miles away, while it’s just a 20-minute drive to the famous Metrocentre at Gateshead, which offers more than 250 shops, 60 places to eat and leisure attractions.

“Commuters will note that the development is a few minutes’ drive from the A1 which connects to Newcastle in less than half an hour and Durham in 15 minutes. Sunderland is just eight miles from the development.

“Parents will appreciate the selection of well-regarded schools in the area and the acres of green open space within the historic estate, while Riverside Park, which offers well-maintained gardens, scenic walks and a play area, is just two miles away.”