Plans for a new residential development in Barnard Castle have been recommended for approval by Durham County Council’s expert planning officers.

North East family-owned employer Banks Property put forward plans for a sustainable development of up to 100 family homes on a 5.5 hectare site to the north of the A67 Darlington Road, around a mile to the north east of the town centre.

After undertaking a range of Covid-safe in-person and online consultation activities around the scheme, Banks submitted a planning application to Durham County Council last October – and having been recommended for approval, it is now scheduled to go before the County Council’s planning committee early next month.

Alongside the new homes, the proposed Darlington Road development would also include direct access to existing local public transport routes, new landscaping and enhancement of local wildlife habitats, an electric vehicle charging point installed at all homes and access within walking distance to both primary and secondary schools.

Around 60 full-time jobs would be supported on site during its construction period if the plans are approved, with a further 90 jobs being indirectly supported through substantial investment in the regional supply chain.

More than 140 letters of support have so far been submitted in support of the scheme, which was also recently backed by the North East’s leading business membership organisation, the North East England Chamber of Commerce.

Duncan Holness, project manager at Banks Property, says: “This is a carefully-designed, high-quality development situated in the most appropriate place in Barnard Castle for new homes and we are confident that the Council’s planning officers’ recommendation for approval is fully deserved.

“We know there is a real demand for the types of properties being proposed for the Darlington Road site, with much of the local feedback we’ve had focusing on how a lack of supply is forcing young people and families who’ve been brought up here to move away when they want to make their homes in the place they know and love.

“We, of course, understand that some local people will have concerns about our plans. The Council’s officers along with other statutory agencies have thoroughly scrutinised our application to ensure that these issues are comprehensively addressed and resolved before reaching their recommendation for approval.

“However, it has been disappointing to see objections to our plans primarily coming from residents of the adjacent Castle Vale estate, many of whom took the chance to move to Barnard Castle when it was built just a few years ago.

“Looking to deny others the same chance to enjoy living here that they have had hardly seems fair, and we strongly believe that being able to live in your chosen community should be an opportunity that is as widely available as possible.

“The increased supply of new family homes that our Darlington Road development will deliver for Barnard Castle will give more local young families the chance to build their lives here, and we hope the County Council’s planning committee will therefore heed the recommendation of their expert officers when it comes to consider our proposals.”

For further information on the proposed Darlington Road development and to register your support for, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/DarlingtonRoadBarnardCastle