Fears for green belt over NHS plans for land sale

ENGLAND’S largest village could become bigger still if a cash-strapped hospital trust presses ahead with plans to sell NHS land for development.

Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which has to save £25m this year, has started preliminary discussions with parish and county councillors over agricultural land owned by the trust over the road from Castle Hill Hospital at Cottingham, near Hull.

The plan is for up to 600 houses, a small medical business park, school, retail and accommodation for the elderly.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A large amount of green open space with a “canal” type of landscape is included in the plans, as well as an attenuation area in case of flooding, which would double up as allotments, and an orchard.

Any application for the land, south of Castle Road, is likely to prove controversial as it would eat into the green belt between Willerby, on the outskirts of Hull and Cottingham.

Coun Ros Jump said: “People who want to move into Cottingham will be delighted – it is a mixed development which is sorely lacking in the village, but the downside is that it is starting to eat up the green belt between ourselves and Willerby and we have to get our sewerage sorted out. Yorkshire Water has admitted that Cottingham’s sewerage is full.”

Regional officer for Unison Ray Gray said any income could go towards reducing the amount of cost-cutting at the trust, which could see 300 hospital beds in 10 wards close in coming years.

The trust has already merged two wards and further cuts are inevitable this year to save £25m.

The trust’s deputy director of infrastructure and development Duncan Taylor said: “There is a significant unmet need for additional housing and services in Cottingham.

“The trust is currently working with the East Riding Council, local residents and parish councillors to establish whether or not we can help provide some land to meet this need.

“The trust does not intend to act as a developer on any proposed scheme however, it would clearly help us to generate much needed resources if we could in the future sell some of our land to a developer.”

Meanwhile controversial plans to build over 100 homes on a green field site in the Allerton Bywater area of Leeds which were rejected by councillors will again be debated in Leeds after developers won a planning appeal.

Planning inspectors have overturned Leeds City Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for homes on several green field sites in recent years, including Queen Street, in Allerton Bywater.

An outline application for the site was granted on appeal and now Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd have put in a reserved matters application for 114 houses. It focuses on the layout of the site, appearance and scale of the development.

Members of the authority’s plans panel east, which meets on Thursday, are being urged to back the proposals subject to conditions being agreed.

Twenty letters of objection have been received, including one from the Great and Little Preston Parish Council. Objectors say there is not enough space at local schools, the development would be on agricultural land, the only space between the communities of Hollinhurst and Bowers Row and they argue brownfield sites should be developed ahead of green field ones.

The developers want to build a mixture of two to five-bedroom family homes.

Councillors in Leeds have argued that unrealistic house building targets set by the previous Government have increased the pressure for green field developments.

Council policy is for so-called brownfield sites – previously developed land – to be built on first.