Proposal for large housing estate which would “reduce the amount of top quality farmland” beside village rejected

A proposal for a large housing estate beside a village has been unanimously rejected by elected community representatives amid claims the development was not needed, would spoil the landscape and permanently reduce the amount of top quality farmland to produce food.

North Yorkshire Council’s Selby and Ainsty constituency planning committee spent little time debating Caddick Land’s proposal for 190 homes off Station Road, at Carlton, near Goole, after hearing would not comply with the Local Plan blueprint for scale and distribution of housing in the area.

Alongside “harm to the form of the settlement”, as the proposed site was not next to any existing houses, officers said the estate would best and most versatile agricultural land covered some 73 per cent of the site, harming the agricultural economy in the area as well as food self-sufficiency.

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The decision is understood to mark one of the first times the authority has rejected a major housing scheme on the grounds of food security.

Proposals to build 190 homes off Station Road, Carlton have been recommended for refusal Picture: GoogleProposals to build 190 homes off Station Road, Carlton have been recommended for refusal Picture: Google
Proposals to build 190 homes off Station Road, Carlton have been recommended for refusal Picture: Google

Partly due to the housing crisis facing the county, North Yorkshire MPs and councillors have restricted raising concerns over developments on top of quality agricultural land to schemes such as solar farms and holiday lodges.

The meeting heard while Carlton had “some scope for additional residential growth” to support rural sustainability, the application site was some 200m, at the closest point, beyond the development limit of Carlton.

However, an agent for the developer told the meeting there should be a presumption in favour of sustainable development on the site as they did not believe the council could demonstrate a five-year supply of housing sites in the area and that the Local Plan was “significantly out of date”.

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He said: “I suspect the only way for these policy issues to be settled is through appeal decisions.”

The agent told the meeting proposed road improvements as part of the development would benefit the whole of Carlton and by giving consent to build the properties the council would retain control over housing delivery.

He said: “What we should all be interested in is the delivery of good quality well thought-out housing proposals put forward by credible and reputable developers on good sites in sustainable settlements.”

The developer had previously claimed the proposals, which include 40 per cent affordable housing, “represent sustainable development in terms of the three pillars – economic, environmental and social”.

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The meeting heard the council’s planning officers were “firmly of the opinion” that the area had a 5.3-year supply of housing land despite the applicant’s suggestions.

When questioned about whether it was sustainable for the council to reject such schemes partly on the grounds of the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land, officers underlined that permitting the development would lead to a permanent and unnecessary loss of land.

Councillors said they agreed with and that there was not “a desperate shortage of houses in Carlton”.