Council leader’s call to arms over development threat to green belt

TWO neighbouring councils are at loggerheads over fears about the possible development of the green belt that separates them.

For decades, the strip of land between Hull and the East Riding has been considered off limits to developers by both councils, and as recently as June they formally agreed as much in a draft joint planning statement setting out issues of “strategic importance”.

But now East Riding Council leader Stephen Parnaby has come out fighting after the city council’s Cabinet removed the reference to retaining the “strategic gaps” between Hull and the East Riding.

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In a strongly worded statement, Coun Parnaby said: “Removing any reference to retaining the strategic gaps could open up these areas for wholesale development, effectively extending Hull’s urban area to take in the communities of Cottingham, Anlaby, Willerby, Kirkella and Hessle.

“I am sure residents in those areas will support my decision to challenge this move by Hull City Council.

“It also worries me that around every 20 years or so Hull has aspirations to extend its boundary into the Haltemprice settlements; the last time this was promoted was in the early 1990s prior to local government reorganisation when it was totally opposed by East Riding residents who felt passionately about retaining their individual identities and communities, and I sincerely hope that this does not herald another ‘Hands off Haltemprice’ campaign.

“Strategic gaps in these areas have been identified in successive local plans for over 40 years. Hull City Council should not think that we will stand by and let this happen.

“I will fight tooth and nail to retain strategic gaps from inappropriate development which would also increase flood risk. I urge residents to let their views be known to the city council.”

East Riding Council said it had raised the issue with the city council at “senior level”, but it was refusing to back down.

However, Coun Steven Bayes, the city council’s portfolio holder for strategic planning, said: “The planning committee removed it and it went through at the nod at Cabinet. But if the East Riding want us to reconsider it they only have to ask.

“It’s a bit odd to issue a Press release and it’s not something we can do unilaterally anyway.

“The reality is there has already been a bit of development with the (Hull Council) cemetery at Cottingham.

“We are always happy to listen to what they’ve got to say and if they feel so strongly about putting it back in we will consider it.”