Residents of Eggborough in Yorkshire 'up for fight' against 1,500 new homes - 15 years after defeating eco-town plans

Residents of a North Yorkshire village are gearing up to fight a new housing development on their doorstep – 15 years after they successfully campaigned to stop a planned eco-town being built there.

Developer Banks Property has revealed plans for a new “sustainable community” to the west of Eggborough in Selby district.

In 2008, 15,000 houses – dubbed Willow Green – were proposed under plans drawn up by Gordon Brown’s Labour government for a series of new eco-towns across the country.

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Banks’ proposal is for just 1,500 homes, but residents are still “incandescent”, according to local councillor John McCartney, who spearheaded the opposition campaign last time around.

Countryside near EggboroughCountryside near Eggborough
Countryside near Eggborough

Banks Group’s Lewis Stokes said the aim was to create “a high quality, well-connected and sustainable extension to Eggborough”.

The site is earmarked for development in Selby’s draft Local Plan. A planning application has not yet been submitted, but Coun McCartney said Banks were showing “contempt” for residents and for due process as the plan is some way off being adopted.

“It’s an appalling way of treating residents,” he added. “People fought the good fight back then and won – for solid planning and environmental reasons – and they are up for the fight now.”

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Banks said the development on the 71 acre site would offer low carbon homes, land for a new primary school with nursery, provision for assisted living units and a local shop.

In its literature, Banks said it would “encourage a healthy lifestyle for the new community through well-designed walking, cycling and exercise routes as well as play facilities” and wanted “enhanced local transport links”.

But Coun McCartney, a Selby district and North Yorkshire County councillor, said local bus and train services were already too limited.

He added: “Would you move to a village with no buses If you didn’t have a car? People are going to move here with their two cars.”

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The independent councillor also said the development amounted to a new town and would lead to the merging of Eggborough and Kellington.

“These two villages have developed over centuries with their own character in nature,” he said. “It’s ripping the heart out of the communities and building a town that will not be sustainable.”

Mr Stokes said: “Increasing the local and regional supply of quality housing will help to attract people to live and work here, which will in turn support the development of the local economy.

“Ensuring there is affordable quality housing will also mean that everyone can access the housing ladder, most especially local younger people and families who want to move to or stay in the area.

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“Creating a central area within the development with assets including a primary school, nursery and local shop will help bring together the community, while direct pedestrian links between the site and the wider village area are also included in our plans.”

Banks is to hold two appointment-only surgery events in the coming weeks for residents to attend.

The first one will take place from 1pm to 7pm on Tuesday, February 21 at Kellington Village Hall on Barrington Garth, with the second taking place from 4pm to 8pm on Wednesday, March 1 at Whitley and Eggborough Community Primary School in Whitley.

A planning application for the project is expected to be finalised later this year, with Banks hoping to be able to begin work on site by the middle of the decade if it is approved.