Plans submitted for 40 homes on land next to Startforth school
Developers are seeking permission to build houses next to Startforth Morritt Primary School.
An outline planning application has been submitted to Durham County Council by ‘Startforth Barnard Castle Ltd’ to build 40 homes on land to the north and east of the school.
The site would consist of two residential areas joined by a proposed open public space. Access to the site is proposed from the road on the southern boundary which leads to Church Bank, as well as from the north-west corner of the site.
Despite plans for more houses which would potentially bring more children into the area, Startforth Morritt Primary School remains on the brink of closure.
In response to the council’s original consultation to close the school, county councillor Richard Bell had said: “Given the house building going on/planned in Barnard Castle at Castle Vale and Green Lane, I am unconvinced that there is sufficient capacity after the next couple of years to absorb the children in the Barnard Castle and the Startforth area.”
However, following the latest planning application, Cllr Bell said: “When I made that original comment I was unaware of the new proposal. Yet more houses being built in Startforth means more children and undermines further Durham County Council's case for closure.
“Durham County Council should immediately move the closure date to September 2017 and work with the governors on their plans to keep the school open.”
The land which the school playground and the school field sits on belongs to Durham County Council. The council confirmed that the planning application will have no influence on the decision to close the school.
Cllr Bell continued: “It is not the school playing fields but it is an interesting development which presumably would make developing the school fields easier.”
Chairwoman of governors Sandra Moorhouse said: “New housing may bring in children but it is all guesstimates.”