500 homes approved – by one vote

A SCHEME to build nearly 500 homes in a Domesday Book village scraped through by just one vote yesterday – on the coat tails of "a ruling from Westminster" on house-building targets.

Some 460 residents of Scalby, near Scarborough, had objected to outline proposals by a number of developers for the project in open countryside off Station Road, outside the main village.

At the start of a debate lasting nearly two hours, Scarborough Council planning officials said that, until recently, the scheme would have been thrown out without much discussion, because the site was outside the development limits set by the Local Plan.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But the boot was now on the builder's foot because of Government planning policies, particularly a requirement that town halls have schemes on the books ready to deliver five years of new housing.

Yesterday's planning meeting was told Scarborough Council was failing to measure up to that target and had more than 2,500 people on the housing waiting list.

Objectors argued the scheme was too big, warning that local roads, medical services and schools would be swamped from the influx of new residents, wildlife would be harmed, and the whole project was out of touch with Scarborough's Urban Renaissance.

There were also fears that constructing a new footbridge over Scalby Beck, to provide a short cut to schools and services for the new residents, would encourage the sort of crime which plagued the nearby Newby Farm development for years.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The councillors voted in favour of the scheme by six votes to five after being told more than 60 new affordable homes would be built in the first phase of development alone.

Villagers argued that the council was jumping the gun by voting yes to the proposals while the debate is still going on about the Local Development Framework, the new planning touchstone that is replacing the old Local Plan.

Coun Dorothy Clegg, a member of the LDF Working Party, said: "I can see grievous loss of open countryside and cherished views. It's going to hurt.

"But on the other hand I see the waiting list for houses which affects us all. Just ask the young people who are looking for homes."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The meeting was told that Government targets meant they had to look at Green Field sites on the edge of town and refusing the application just because the LDF was not finalised would be hard to defend on appeal.

Head of Regeneration, Pauline Elliott, agreed that "calling it a ruling from Westminster is a good way of putting it". She added: "I agree on the point that planning policy is set by Central Government."

But rebel councillors fought a rear-guard action to at least refer the decision to full council, amid claims that the consultation process had been flawed.

Caroline Pindar, Chairman of Scalby Village Trust, one of the main objectors, also maintained local people had not been properly consulted about a scheme she said would create "an isolated car orientated soulless housing estate".

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After the meeting Chris Grice, of the Village Trust, said: "It is a massive disappointment. The only thing we can hope for now is to be involved in the details of the scheme.

"Consultation, whatever has been said, has been lacking. The developers were asked to come to a public meeting and declined. The village is not against development – but we want the right development and don't believe this is it."

However, Simon Chadwick, agent for the developers, said the scheme would contribute to Scarborough's economic growth and help solve the shortfall in its housing programme.