'˜This housing estate will make our village part of the next town'

VILLAGERS are urging councillors to reject plans for a housing development which they say will wipe out a green belt and see their village merge with a neighbouring town.

Villagers are urging councillors to reject plans for a housing development which will see their village merge with a neighbouring town.

The plans to build 94 homes on fields which divide West Cowick from the town of Snaith go before East Riding councillors next Thursday.

Officials are recommending the application is approved, subject to the signing of a legal agreement.

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The previous Boothferry Borough plan stated that infilling would “ruin the character of the village, while estate development will overwhelm it.” But with the Government pushing for 23,000 homes to be built in the East Riding over the next 10 years, the thin green belt is about to get much thinner.

A planning inspector overseeing the new local plan has agreed to allocate part of the green belt for development, but said there should be a “key open area” separating village and town.

However villager Alex Tate said the developer was proposing putting in an “unsightly” elevated drainage pond and play area to serve the new estate, outside the allocated area, which would bring the development right up to the West Cowick boundary.

She fears it could set a precedent for other developers with plans that take in unallocated land. She said: “It is not a natural feature in a flat landscape. It will not maintain the openness of the key green area.

“It will visually impact on West Cowick and ruin the character of the village - a village that in theory is not being developed.

“What we can’t understand is that the council’s planning section has not objected, even though it is against the several policies adopted in the new local plan.”

The plans form part of a wider 256-home allocation earmarked for Snaith - all of which will be built to the south of the town, impacting on West Cowick.

Mrs Tate said: “This estate will increase West Cowick by 40 per cent. 69 of the 94 homes will be four-bed, with just three bungalows. It may well appeal to commuters but they aren’t providing homes for the one in five elderly residents in Snaith want to move on from their large homes.”

There are also fears the elevated pond puts adjacent properties at increased risk of flooding.

She said: “We would urge councillors to reject this application and allow for plans to be submitted for an appropriate development. One that fulfils genuine housing needs, does not include a precarious drainage system, is contained within the allocated area and maintains the separate identities of Snaith and West Cowick.”

Planners admit there is a need for smaller homes, but insist it is an “acceptable form of development” and will not adversely impact neighbours.

A council statement said: “Government and local policies support infrastructure development, including in areas outside of settlements where appropriate, as they are not generally intrusive.

“In Key Open Areas, planning policy seeks to avoid development that would detract from the open nature of an area. Ponds, whether man-made or natural, are unlikely to harm the openness of such areas. On that basis, Forward Planning do not object and have supported similar proposals elsewhere.”