A PROPOSAL to pull down garages and build houses in their place is recommended for approval despite neighbours’ fears it would cause road and parking problems.

Livin has applied to Durham County Council for permission to demolish two blocks of terraced garages on Villa Street, Spennymoor.

It wants to redevelop the site with four semi-detached houses that would be available as rent to buy properties, with tenants able to pay affordable rent for five years while saving for a deposit.

In its application to the council, Livin stated the scheme would be an effective and efficient use of previously developed land to help address housing shortage.

But some residents in surrounding streets such as Villa Street and Craddock Street have objected, 24 signed a petition and 14 wrote to the council with concerns.

They believe displaced cars would be parked on roadsides- making the lack of off-road parking worse, putting pedestrians in danger, blocking emergency and bin collection vehicles and causing congestion. Some also worry cars will be vandalised and for their personal safety if they cannot lock cars in a garage or have to park further from home.

Livin, though, states only 16 of the 20 garages are occupied and many are not used for parking cars but general storage ‘as a way of dealing with the clutter accumulated through life’.

It has promised to try to accommodate any displaced cars, which it estimates at 11 as some tenants live close to alternative parking spaces, and could help owners create parking within their home’s curtilage.

Objectors also have concerns about the proposed houses’ outlook, overdevelopment of land and pressure on medical and school services.

Spennymoor Town Council and ward member Councillor Liz Maddison echoed residents’ concerns.

The application will be considered by the county council planning committee (south and west) when it meets at Green Lane, Spennymoor, next Thursday.

Planning officer Mark O’Sullivan will recommend approval of the scheme describing it as a ‘sympathetic’ redevelopment of private land that would suit the street scene ‘without significantly and detrimentally compromising highway safety, residential amenity, ecology, adjacent trees and land contamination’.