Plans for 215 homes on edge of ancient woodland delayed as college principal slams developers

Permission for 215 homes on one of Selby’s largest housing developments has been delayed amid claims the local college has been treated “with contempt” in the planning process.

Selby College principal Phil Sayles said his institution had “not been consulted in any meaningful way” about Persimmon Homes’ plan to redesign the access road next to their building.

Around 1,000 students and 150 staff enter and leave the college each day and Mr Sayles said he was concerned for their safety with the inevitable increase in traffic around Staynor Avenue that would accompany the new homes.

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He said: “The plan will reduce visibility available and the pavement size so it will become a very congested area through which traffic is passing. The design adds no meaningful safety measures nor reduces speed limits in this arrival and embarkation area.

Selby College principal Phil Sayles said his institution had “not been consulted in any meaningful way”

“We have not been consulted in any meaningful way. We believe that Persimmon Homes have treated Selby College and the young people we serve with a degree of contempt.”

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He claimed Persimmon Homes conducted a traffic survey at 11am on a Tuesday, when most students would already be in college.

He added: “We believe it is inconceivable that the concerns we have raised would have been paid so little attention in the planning process over the last six months had Selby College been a secondary or primary school.”

Ward councillor Steven Shaw-Wright said he was embarrassed that issues had still not been resolved for such a long-running application.

The application before councillors related to the final stage of a 1,200 home development dating back to the early 2000s.

He added: “You are trying to make a three-lane highway out of a one-way highway. You are building up to an accident waiting to happen.”

North Yorshire County Council’s highways team have said the new layout would be safe.

Paul Butler, speaking on behalf of Persimmon Homes, said the applicant had “worked tirelessly with officers to improve the design and layout of the scheme” and said they had consulted with the college.

Mr Butler said the redesigned layout would be an improvement on what is already there as a new, well-lit pedestrian crossing would be built.

The increase in traffic would only amount to two extra trips per minute in peak hours, he added.

Concerns have also been raised about potential damage to Staynor Wood, an ancient woodland, with the Woodland Trust objecting.

Persimmon Homes have since added a buffer zone between the dwellings and the wood in their designs.

Councillors voted to defer the scheme to allow more time to scrutinise the plans.