Council spends £169,000 defending developer’s appeals

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A council has spent £169,000 defending appeals by a developer who wants to build hundreds of homes next to an East Riding village.

Developer St Modwen is appealing against East Riding Council’s refusal of planning permission for 510 homes, plus health and leisure facilities, at Melton Park, off Brickyard Lane, as well as a smaller-scale 390-home alternative.

A ruling following what is believed to be the council’s largest ever public inquiry is not expected until next year with the then Communities Secretary making the final decision.

The costs emerged in a report to the council’s Cabinet, which also revealed £135,000 had been spent on a second appeal against refusal of planning permission for permanent residential occupancy at Lakeminster Park, Beverley.

These costs are expected to be recovered from the Planning Inspectorate, while the bill for the Melton inquiry, which began in November 2013, and sat for four weeks in May before reconvening in August, will be met by the council.

To add to the woes of residents in North Ferriby, who are objecting strongly to the overload on local services from the Melton Park development, the Inspector considering the planning blueprint for the East Riding until 2029, is looking at increasing the number of new houses in the village from 85 to 160.

Inspector Simon Berkeley, who chaired last month’s public inquiry, raised concerns over the council’s planned cap on new developments in 11 villages, after developers objected. It means instead of 1,360 homes being built, as many as 1,985 could now be built. Villages like Keyingham, Holme on Spalding Moor and Stamford Bridge face a 20 per cent increase in housing, with Swanland, South Cave, Preston, North Ferriby, Nafferton and Flamborough could see a 10 per cent increase. A consultation will be held before the Inspector makes a final decision.

Chairman of North Ferriby parish council John Mabbett said the village (population 1,600) would be “overwhelmed” if another 10 per cent was added, in addition to the 500 nearby: “We are not nimbys, we recognise there has to be development and we are perfectly prepared as a village to accept our share, but to be overwhelmed to this extent we say would destroy the fabric of village. It has been a discrete settlement since Mediaeval times. If the houses are built there will be a continuos ribbon of development from Brough right along the banks of the Humber almost to Hessle.”

Planning policy manager Stephen Hunt said Melton Park was one of four key strategic employment sites. He said: “We feel it is a hugely valuable site for the East Riding to meet future needs for new jobs.”

Ward councillor Julie Abrahams, who represents Swanland and North Ferriby, warned that greenfield land would be targeted as other suitable land has already been earmarked. She said: “I would urge other parish councils to have a conversation to see the implications for their villages and encourage residents to look out for the consultation exercise in the New Year.” Head of planning Pete Ashcroft said the inquiry “had taken substantially longer than was originally expected, which led to increased costs for legal representation and other expert advice.”