CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 31 new homes on the outskirts of a North Tyne village have been reluctantly approved by councillors.

The proposals for housing on land to the north east of Bridgeford View in Bellingham were granted outline planning permission in December 2017, but now more detailed proposals have been approved.

The application, submitted by Northumberland County Council’s arms-length company Advance Northumberland, had attracted objections from local residents and Bellingham Parish Council, with concerns raised about drainage.

Resident Paul Bell, who was among the 14 objectors, spoke at Tynedale Local Area Council’s meeting on Tuesday.

He said: “This proposed development clearly doesn’t deliver what Bellingham needs.

“The developer can’t ensure that there will be no increased risk of flooding.

“This application has not been treated with the right level of procedural rigour. This is procedural impropriety.”

However, the county council’s flood authority department and Northumbrian Water raised no objections to the application.

The development will feature a sustainable drainage system basin which the developers say will limit the water flowing into an adjoining culvert.

The basin is designed to withstand a once-in-a-century flooding event as well as a 40 per cent increase to take climate change into account.

But councillors at Tuesday’s meeting were reluctant to pass the motion.

Coun. Ian Hutchinson said: “We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“We’re told how it’s going to work and it’s not going to cause any problem.

“I hope to god you’re right and this doesn’t flood.

“We’ve got to take the experts’ advice.

“I hope you’re right because none of us will be here in 100 years time to say I told you so.”

Coun. Nick Oliver added: “If we were to refuse this application on drainage grounds we would be walking into an appeal with costs against us.”

But Coun. Alan Sharp said he was concerned about the impartiality of the decision.

He said: “I can see what Coun. Hutchinson is saying, but I’m concerned that this is a Northumberland County Council application and we’re determining it.

“There’s nothing I have heard today which absolutely satisfies the drainage issue.”

The application was passed by seven votes to two.