Plans for a new high-quality residential development to the east of Durham City are set to move forward after the completion of a major deal between two leading housebuilders and the County Durham-headquartered developer behind the scheme.

Banks Property secured outline planning permission from Durham County Council for the Bent House Lane development last year and has since been working towards identifying the most appropriate housebuilders to take the project on.

The family-owned firm has now agreed deals with both Miller Homes and Barratt Homes, which will each develop around half of the 19.5-hectare site.

The Bent House Lane site, which was allocated for residential development in the County Durham Plan, will now see up to 500 family homes being built on land to the south of the A181 Sherburn Road between Gilesgate and the A1.

Alongside the new homes, the Bent House Lane scheme will also include the creation of around 3.5 hectares of public open space and a new network of footpaths and cycleways to link with nearby facilities, including the retail facilities at Dragonville and Damson Way and the National Cycle Route 14 to Durham City.

Other improvements will include new planting and ecological enhancements to the south of the site and new bus stops provided on the A181 to complement the existing bus services, which already go past the site, while a significant seven-figure contribution to the local education system will also form part of the overall scheme.

Part of the Bent House Lane site was owned by the Church Commissioners for England, who worked collaboratively with Banks Property on its development.

The two housebuilders will be bringing forward reserved matters applications for their respective parts of the site in the near future, with a view to construction commencing as soon as possible.

Over 60 jobs will be supported on site during the construction phase of the development, with significant contract opportunities being made available to local suppliers across a range of different areas.

Mark Dickenson, development director at Banks Property, says: “Homes, and especially family homes, are very much needed in Durham City, and we were very pleased with the level of support from local people, local councillors, community groups and organisations when we brought this project forward.

“Developing the Bent House Lane site has been a long-term target for us, and as a longstanding County Durham business, it’s been especially important for us to ensure we find the best partners to realise its potential.

“We’re very pleased to have reached agreements with two such highly-respected housebuilders who will now move on to deliver our plans to create a thriving and well-connected new community that will have a positive economic impact on both our home city and the wider county.

“We have worked closely with both Miller Homes and Barratt Homes for many years, and it’s been a pleasure to be able to finalise the latest stage of our continuing relationship.”

John Jameson, area land director at Miller Homes, adds: “Miller Homes has developed several sites in the Durham City area over the years and is delighted to have worked in partnership with the Banks Group and Barratt Homes in securing another important housing site in the area.

This latest development will provide much needed housing and investment in the local area which includes affordable housing.”

Neil Milburn, land and development director at Barratt Homes North East, says: “This exchange is fantastic news for both Barratt Homes and Durham house hunters because we’re one step closer to building a new and thriving community in a highly sought-after area close to Durham City Centre.

“We’re excited to develop Bent House Lane and to be investing £1.27 million into the local area which means, alongside Miller Homes, we will be enhancing much needed education and healthcare facilities as well as making other improvements to footpaths, open spaces and recreational areas.”