Homes refused over 'catastrophic' impact fears

Plans for 37 homes have been refused over fears they would have a "catastrophic" impact on a village.

Developer Believe Housing wanted to build new housing at The Horseboxes in Seaton, near Seaham in County Durham.

Durham County Council planning officers had supported the application, but residents said the village would not be able to cope due to the lack of amenities and councillors rejected the plan.

Believe Housing said the estate would have supported the "economic sustainability of local services such as the two pubs, community centre, bus service, and the wider area".

The developer’s revised application had reduced the number of properties from 46 to 37, and included six affordable homes.

However, more than 360 objection letters were submitted and a petition with 283 signatories was also sent in, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.


Alyson Slater, chairman of Seaton with Slingley Parish Council, said the size of the development could "water down" the "terrific community spirit" which local residents "treasured".

She said: "The impact will be catastrophic."

Ms Slater added that if the site went ahead, elderly people could struggle getting to the "flourishing" community centre.

"These people are the bread and butter of the community centre," she said, adding: "If we lose people like this and they lose this amenity it will be an absolute disgrace."

Under threat

David McKenna, councillor for the Seaham ward, labelled the proposed access route "unsafe and unsuitable".

He added: "This proposal threatens the integrity of our community and undermines the essence of a small village.

"The residents of Seaton are a caring, tight-knit community. Over recent years they have been battling on two fronts with numerous residential meetings because of other residential developments."

Believe Housing said in a statement the scheme had been "significantly amended" in response to consultee and public comments and provided "much-needed housing".

Planning officers suggested the application should be approved, but the county council's planning committee voted against it.

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