COUNCILLORS are expected to approve the controversial development plan for an “executive development” on a historic parkland estate.

Darlington Borough Council's cabinet members are expected to confirm the Blackwell Grange Planning and Development Brief after taking onboard concerns raised by Historic England and local residents.

Fifty acres of land covering parts the former Blackwell Grange golf course, in Darlington, was first earmarked for housing in 2015, with concerned action groups formed in the wake of the plans being made public two years ago.

In a report due to go before members next week, the authority says it has responded to criticism that historical features would be lost if cottage mews-style homes or luxury retirement apartments were built in the area.

Once adopted the brief will be used in any subsequent planning applications for home on the council-owned site.

The authority is looking to market the land as a potential executive development.

A document to be put before members reads: "The Council is promoting a high quality development that minimises harm to the heritage assets on the site. This will be achieved by the new development being a good fit with the local area in terms of layout, materials, heights and roofline, relationship to the topography of the site and the means of landscaping and

boundary treatments."

The former golf course could become the site of 23 executive homes on land that is home to more than 50 features of historical importance.

These include a fishpond dating back to the 1700s, a Grade II listed wall and a lime avenue thought to date from 1790.

The conclusion to the report reads: "Following local residents’ comments for the Council’s proposals for high quality residential development on the sites, a Brief has been prepared to offer guidance to prospective purchasers of the site and to influence decisions on any future planning applications.

"It is compliant with National and Local Planning Policy. Members are asked to approve the Planning and Development Brief and disposal of the Council owned land."

  • A decision will be made at a cabinet meeting taking place at Darlington Town Hall on Tuesday, October 10 at 5pm, before being presented to full council for final approval.