Rural havens ‘under siege from developers’

Ryedale, North Yorkshire

Ryedale, North Yorkshire

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THE GOVERNMENT’S planning reforms are seeing vast swathes of countryside being built on with two-thirds of appeals going in developers’ favour in the past year.

Two years after the biggest changes to the planning system in 30 years, the Council for the Protection of Rural England says towns and villages “are under siege” while brownfield land remains unused. According to a new report 729,000 homes are to be built in the countryside - including 190,000 in the green belt.

It comes as three Yorkshire districts, Ryedale, Hambleton and Selby, were named in the top 50 most desirable rural places to live in by Halifax.

Since last April 67 per cent of major housing developments which have gone to appeal, after being refused by councils, have found in favour of the developers. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles approved more than twice as many as he dismissed where he had the final say.

The CPRE said the “message was clear” and councils were increasingly “throwing in the towel”, reluctant to incur huge costs fighting a case they are unlikely to win. David Tucker, of the North Beverley Action Group, which earlier this year lost its fight against plans for 162 homes to the north of the town, said: “Everything is in favour of development, regardless of the impact on a semi-rural or rural area.”

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