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A HEALTH trust has been accused of greed for pressing ahead with plans to build hundreds of homes in open countryside outside England’s largest village.

East Riding councillors have backed a scheme by Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust for 180 houses on farmland off Castle Road in Cottingham in East Yorkshire.

Plans for a much larger scheme for 600 houses as well as a medical centre and pharmacy, retail and residential care home on the same site were refused last November, over concerns including erosion of the green belt separating the village from its suburban neighbours.

But it has now emerged the trust wants a “significantly larger” area allocated for housing in the Local Plan – the blueprint for future development – which goes to a public inquiry later this year.

Councillors have also yet to decide on plans by another developer for 144 houses on a brownfield site, currently being used for parking, next door.

Coun Lena Slater, who represents Cottingham South, said she was concerned that Cottingham and other East Riding settlements were losing their village character and were ending up “part of a sprawl called greater Kingston Upon Hull”.

The council defines the land as open countryside and a large part of an “Open Area of Strategic Importance” and says if the entire site is developed it will infill the gap between Cottingham and the business park at Willerby Hill.

Coun Slater said: “I understand the NHS trust is going to challenge the legality of the council only deciding to allocate 180 houses at the inquiry later this year.

“I made a plea at the meeting (last week) for infrastructure before development ie the drainage, flooding issues and road network needs to be sorted out before they start talking about hundreds of homes.

“I think it is unadulterated greed, they talk about having to get rid of Crown land but don’t have to get rid of good agricultural land and spoil the landscape. There must be a better way.

“The amount of money they will get for this is absolutely negligible within all the funding that goes into the NHS.

“People do need houses but if we allow indiscriminate development we will end up with the sort of place Brough is now, pile them in, stack them up high. ”

A council spokesman said the trust had made representations for an area “significantly larger” than the one approved last week.

He added: “The council is not supporting that larger allocation.”

The trust confirmed it would be making a representation at the inquiry, but refused to say what.

A statement said its application for 180 homes was in accordance with the Local Plan.

It added: “The trust is not a developer, and is therefore seeking to establish the principal of development within the outline application.

“Any capital receipts from any future sale of this land would be reinvested in patient care.”