Plans for a new high-quality residential development to the east of Durham City have been backed by Durham County Council’s planning committee.

Banks Property put forward an outline planning application for the Bent House Lane development last year which encompassed up to 440 family homes on land to the south of the A181 Sherburn Road between Gilesgate and the A1.

The County Durham-headquartered firm subsequently revised the details of the scheme to include an additional area of land to the east of the site in response to feedback from the local community and technical consultees.

The updated proposals, which are located on a site allocated for residential development in the recently-adopted County Durham Plan, were recommended for approval by the County Council’s expert planning officers.

And now, the members of the County Council’s planning committee have voted in favour of the project by a majority of ten to two.

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.

All the land within the housing allocation is now contained within the Banks planning application while, following discussions with local people and the Durham County Council Highways team, the Bent House Lane junction to the A181 will remain open.

Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at Banks Property says: “Having received a recommendation for approval for this project from Durham County Council’s expert planning officers, we’re very pleased that the members of its planning committee have been minded to follow their advice.

“Homes, and especially affordable homes, are very much needed in this area and our project will deliver them in a wholly appropriate and sustainable location that has been specifically identified within the County Durham Plan for this type of high-quality development.

“Throughout the development process, we’ve listened and acted on feedback from local people and groups, and have enhanced our design to address the issues and ideas they’ve raised.

“We’re very pleased by the level of support for our plans that has come from local people, local councillors and many local community groups and organisations, and we’re excited by the prospect of creating a thriving and well-connected new community within our home city.”