Hunt on for sites to develop in rural Yorkshire

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A SEARCH is under way for sites in rural Yorkshire that could be used for housing and commercial developments as part of a planning blueprint spanning the next 15 years.

Richmondshire Council is asking the public to offer suggestions over where homes could be built in the district. The hunt was launched yesterday as Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles decided to call in plans for 100 homes on the edge of York.

The move means the development in Strensall, which was approved by York Council, will now be the subject of a planning inquiry. Government rules on planning mean all councils must show where they are making land available for housing and business.

Coun Jane Parlour, planning spokeswoman for Richmondshire Council, said: “The council needs to have a clear understanding of what can and cannot be built here. It will help us make decisions about future planning applications and how they fit into the local area.”

The authority is asking people to put forward sites capable of accommodating four or more houses in the district outside of the Yorkshire Dales National Park over the next 15 years. Sites will be judged on their location, access to services, heritage and flood risk.

However, councillors have promised residents that inclusion in its “land availability assessment” will not mean that future development on the land is guaranteed with any building requiring planning permission.

Planning future housing has proved hugely contentious in York where the council last year published proposals which would see land earmarked for 22,000 homes over the next 15 years.

In February, the council approved an application from developer Linden Homes to build 102 homes on land north of Brecks Lane, in Strensall. But the application will now be the subject of a planning inquiry ordered by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles’s after York Outer MP Julian Sturdy asked him to intervene.

Mr Sturdy said: “I’m delighted that the Secretary of State has removed the council of its power to determine this deeply contentious planning application.

“The public inquiry should give the local residents the opportunity to voice their very real concerns about this development under the assurance that they will not be glossed over as they appear to have been by the City of York Council.”

The council will be asked to show how the decision to grant permission for the Strensall development does not breach rules on protecting greenbelt land. It will also have to show the new homes are “consistent with the development plan for the area”.

Jonathan Carr, head of development services and regeneration at York Council, said: “We can confirm that we’ve received notification that the Secretary of State has ‘called-in’ this particular scheme in Strensall for his determination, and we welcome the opportunity to fully participate in the forthcoming planning inquiry.”