Plans revealed for more than 200 homes on farmland in North Yorkshire town

A push for more than 200 homes has been unveiled on land once earmarked for an ambitious retirement village.

It’s been more than eight years since proposals for a US-style retirement complex – featuring more than 300 homes and a care home – were approved near Yarm.

Detailed plans for a scaled down scheme at Mount Leven Farm were given the thumbs up in 2016 – with a doctor’s surgery, cafe, restaurant and bar, bowling green, swimming pool and convenience store all lined up.

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But the stretch where the sprawling complex was planned remains farmland and vegetation for now.

Mount Leven Farm

Now fresh drawings have revealed a change of tack in the Leven Valley – with Mandale Homes lodging plans for 215 properties, including 35 bungalows, on the southern section of the site.

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Design documents from Mandale show the new houses wouldn’t be restricted to older people. And the recently built roundabout off Leven Bank Road will offer access to the four “villages” on the 31 acre stretch.

However, conditions remain on three of the “villages” north of the Mandale plans to provide homes for over 55s.

Jake Majid, from landowner Maher Projects, said the proposals were only for part of the wider retirement village site, and he revealed they still intended to build out what was originally planned on a smaller scale.

“We intend to build bungalows in villages two, six and seven,” said Mr Majid.

Four types of bungalows have been planned in one of the new villages – all of which will be classed as “affordable”. If approved, the rest would be made up of 180 two, three, and four-bedroom detached houses.

A design statement added: “Unlike the existing consent, the current proposals would not restrict houses to over 55s, but seek to deliver more accessible housing than the existing consent, which people of any age could occupy longer into their later years, helping people stay in their homes for longer.

“Our client seeks to do this by delivering 100% accessible and adaptable dwellings, and 9.3% wheelchair user dwellings.”

Past Stockton Council planning meetings have heard repeated pleas for more single storey homes to help older and less mobile folk.

Conservative councillor Dan Fagan said the land had already been approved for development in Stockton’s “Local Plan” housing blueprint.

He believed many people preferred the site be a retirement complex to cater for older people. And he was a “little bit disappointed” to see the plans come through.

“We need to be providing homes for elderly residents, and not just marketable luxury four bedroom homes,” said Coun Fagan.

“In part of the council plan, there is a stipulation that we should be building homes for elderly people but affordable homes as well.”

The Conservative also shared one or two concerns about the number of bungalows in the plan – and the potential for more traffic from the fresh scheme.

He added: “It’s whether or not the roundabout is suitable for the level of traffic associated with a 200 home development, rather than an elderly population with lower car use.”

A decision is expected in 2022.