Parish council accused of trying to 'land grab' in East Yorkshire

It's known as the scene of a famous battle nearly 1000 years ago, when King Harold of England defeated Harald Hardrada King of Norway.

The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place in 1066
The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place in 1066

Now a new battle is about to be fought - over parish boundaries.

On one side is Stamford Bridge - one of the few villages in the country to boast its own swimming pools as well as an immaculate cricket pitch where top teams have played.

On the other are the parish councils of Full Sutton and Skirpenbeck; and Catton.

The Avant Homes development in Stamford Bridge, which is currently part of Full Sutton and Skirpenbeck parish

Stamford Bridge parish council wants to realign the boundary to take in part of Skirpenbeck, to include the recently built Avant Homes estate, but also fields in Catton too, where residents there say planning permission has been sought - but refused -for housing.

If the Avant Homes estate is taken into Stamford Bridge’s parish, the 120 households there will make a contribution towards facilities in Stamford Bridge - rather than to Full Sutton and Skirpenbeck parish.

At the moment Stamford Bridge raises a precept of £58,000 a year, with a band D property paying £39.53.

Parish councillor Chris Kealey said: “We think we offer lots of support for community groups who run functions in the village and think it is only right that if they (the people on the estate) are going to benefit, they should be contributing in some way.”

Stamford Bridge parish councillor Rick Bragg

More than a quarter of Stamford Bridge’s population - over 800 people - have signed a petition, allowing them to formally request a Community Governance Review.

East Riding Council’s Cabinet meets on Tuesday to discuss the proposal. If approved, a consultation will begin.

The new boundary would follow the route of local watercourses, taking in around a dozen fields.

Coun Kealey said: “When we went round with the petition we showed people a map of what we were proposing to do and the vast majority went along and thought it made sense.”

Stamford parish councillor Rick Bragg said: “All we are doing is straightening the boundaries up by using the physical features that are already there.

“It's not about money. It’s about trying to enclose what’s now an annexe to the village.”

However clerk of Full Sutton and Skirpenbeck and Catton parish councils Claire Miles-Findlay said they would fight the plans.

She said discussions between East Riding Council and Stamford Bridge began in March 2017 - long before the building of the new estate.

She said: “This has absolutely everything to do with money. It is a land grab.

“We will be fighting it. It may be inevitable but we are just not going to let it happen.”

Catton parish councillor Gordon Peel said Stamford Bridge wanted to alter the boundary to take in several fields, where in the past plans for housing were rejected.

He said: “If in future those fields were to be developed, that’s precept money Catton could certainly use. Stamford Bridge is quite a wealthy parish - we could do with a lot more.

“Our precept is about £6,500 - that doesn’t give us a chance to do anything apart from ongoing maintenance.

“We are all good friends and generally work together but I think on this particular issue the majority in Catton would resist it - and I am going to stick with them.”

A millennium ago Catton parish - where King Harold was Lord of the Manor - was the main parish and Stamford Bridge was “insignificant”, he said.

The site of the 1066 battle has never been identified - and it may be a bit further downstream from Stamford Bridge.

"Stamford Bridge is not the obvious site for a battle. Most people accept the story that it is Stamford Bridge, but if you dig a little bit deeper, its's not so clear cut," said Coun Peel.

“No relics have have ever been found. You would think that with such a significant battle there would have been.

"According to the stories the Vikings were slaughtered - there would have been hundreds and hundreds dead."

Legend says the Vikings were slaughtered after being caught napping by King Harold, who had marched up from the south.

“According to the story they were relaxing, they’d taken off their armour, had their shields down and and were totally unprepared.”