Almost 200 new homes could be built in Haltwhistle after proposals were given the thumbs up by planning chiefs.

Concerns had been raised ahead of the decision about the possible impact so many new families moving to the town could have on traffic.

But bosses at Northumberland County Council agreed the development would boost the area, while also insisting they had no grounds on which to turn it down.

In a submission to the local authority, Haltwhistle Town Council claimed it did not ‘object in principle’ to the scheme on the 7.8 hectare site west of Park Road, but raised concerns about ‘unacceptable levels of traffic’ around the Park Road and Westgate junction.

It added: “At night the parking means that the road has to be used effectively as a single-track road with irregular and variable passing places.

“Drivers and pedestrians who use the road on a regular basis would consider this section to be one with a considerable number of hazards and potential for delay.”

The scheme sought permission for a combined total of 194 homes.

Of these, 68 properties are set to be a mix of two, three and four-bedroom houses, occupying about a third of the overall site and set out in a ‘detailed’ planning application.

Consent for a further 126 dwellings across the rest of the land was also requested as part of an ‘outline’ application, which will need to be considered again before construction can start.

The site has also been included in the ‘local plan’ being worked on to guide planning policy in Northumberland as a potential housing site.

Coun Gordon Stewart told the county council’s Strategic Planning Committee: “This is a beautiful part of the world, it is a town which has now been brought into the 21st Century.

“I’ve worked up there assisting people who are looking for jobs, it has got a lot of shops there, it’s got a strong economy and I think any sort of addition to the housing market will be beneficial.

“It is a large amount [of properties] and I do sympathise with the [objectors], but the world will change and we haven’t got the grounds to refuse this.”

The panel voted to approve the plans, but also requested a condition be added that half of the properties be built with charging points for electric vehicles.