Support for controversial new homes in Skipton

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A CONTROVERSIAL bid to build 114 new homes in Skipton has won council officers’ support.

Keyhaven Homes Ltd wants to create the development, which would also include a convenience store and multi-use games area, on land at North Parade.

Critics have raised a raft of objections but members of Craven Council’s planning committee will be advised to grant outline planning permission for the scheme when they meet on Monday.

Full details of the scheme have yet to be finalised but if permission is granted it will require a separate application. It could include a mix of one and two bed apartments as well as houses. It is proposed that 40 percent would be “affordable housing”.

The site consists of two areas - a greenfield area of pasture land and a smaller playing field area owned by Skipton Town Council next to Greatwood Community Centre.

Craven Council has received nine letters from people objecting to the scheme including one from six residents of Hollingworth Close. Critics claim the new homes would lead to an “added burden” on local infrastructure and services including schools and healthcare. They say vehicle access into the area is made via narrow roads that are unsuitable for additional traffic and that the extra traffic generated would lead to congestion and safety issues on local roads near to the site.

There are fears the development would add to urban sprawl, be visually intrusive within the landscape and lead to a loss of privacy and light for existing neighbouring residents.

North Yorkshire County Council’s archaeologist has advised that a programme of archaeological trial trenching is undertaken after a survey revealed areas of ridge and furrow and several anomalies that may be of archaeological interest.

The County Council has also identified an anticipated need for 17 school places by the 2018/19 school year and would want a contribution of £231,132 for Greatwood Community Primary School. The site is allocated as recreational space in the local plan but the section of land to be used is currently grassland. The proposal includes a refurbished multi-use games area and new children’s play area. Within the wider housing site, there would be an ‘adventure trail’ incorporating five pieces of play equipment.

A report to be considered by councillors says: “Although the application is in outline with only details of the access points to the site submitted at this stage, the illustrative layout and supporting documentation indicate that provided appropriate conditions are applied the proposal will provide high quality housing, including significant provision of affordable housing of an appropriate mix to meet identified local housing needs. The illustrative layout and supporting documentation also indicates that existing landscape features will be safeguarded and enhanced and recreation space will be provided.

“It is considered, therefore, taken overall the proposal is considered to be a sustainable form of development which would help meet a shortfall in provision for the currently identified housing requirement.”

Planning permission would be subject to a number of conditions including off-site highway improvement works, the provision of affordable housing and contributions towards education and open space.