‘Keep land for grandchildren’ plead residents in homes fight

OPPONENTS of plans to build more than 160 homes on the outskirts of a market town will urge councillors to refuse the proposals at a meeting this week.

The scheme for 163 homes and a £4m bypass on land close to Beverley ambulance station, and a separate application by Linden Homes for another 141 homes off Woodhall Way, Molescroft, nearby, have sparked an outcry from residents and green campaigners, who say it will ruin Beverley’s small town identity.

The developer David Wilson Homes has already put in an appeal on the grounds that the council hadn’t decided the plans within the time limit, and a six-day public inquiry has been set for April.

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However councillors will meet at County Hall in Beverley on Thursday to discuss the application, with their views being used as evidence to contest the appeal.

Meanwhile Linden Homes is appealing East Riding councillors’ refusal of planning permission at a four-day inquiry starting at County Hall on January 29.

There have been 139 letters of objections from residents to the David Wilson development, which is on green field land outside the town’s development limits, but is proposed for housing in the draft local plan, which is still going through its planning stages.

One objector said the area was already congested, with schools full to capacity and public services already overstretched.

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Another urged: “Keep this land as agricultural with open spaces, please, before our children and grandchildren forget what farmland and open green space look like.”

But the developers say the release of the land for housing would “provide a valuable contribution to meeting the East Riding’s current housing land supply deficit.”

Half of the new homes would have five or six bedrooms, with 26 affordable homes.

The council’s affordable housing team has raised concerns over costs, stating: “A high asking price of more than £100,000 is not deemed to be affordable.”

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Founder member of North Beverley Action Group David Tucker, a senior lecturer in environmental management and sustainable business at Hull University, fears the development will be a precursor to “800 or a thousand more homes encasing the northern end of the Westwood.”

He said: “It is not in the current designated local development framework, it is on grade two agricultural land that is accepted as being of scenic value and it is one of the few approaches to the town which is visually free from urban development.

“It is annoying that the builders are trying to bounce the council into hasty decisions, instead of us having a proper debate into how the town should develop.

“In a sense the council is being hoist by its own petard by the huge amount of houses it is allowing to be developed in Beverley.

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“The real need is for smaller, more affordable houses that retired and young people can move into – I wonder where the evidence is for larger houses, given the number that are on the market and have been on the market for months and months.”

A spokeswoman for Beverley Civic Society said there seemed to be a “no win” situation for those trying to curb the number of homes, with the council’s target for the next 15 years rising to 3,400 from 3,200 in the past month alone.

She said: “If the planning application is refused the developer is likely to appeal; if the planning application is not approved in the appropriate time then the developer will still appeal. There seems to be a ‘no win’ situation for East Riding Council and our town.”

In their conclusions planners recommend refusal, but admit that the site is “considered acceptable in principle for residential development”.

They claim there are a number of serious failings in the proposals, including there not being enough affordable homes and flaws in the design.