Plans for hundreds of Ripon homes have been approved by the secretary of state, despite the National Trust branding the development a threat to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal World Heritage Site.
A public inquiry was held last year to help determine Gladman Development’s application for up to 390 homes to the south west of West Lane, after the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, intervened over fears that the development could have an “adverse impact” on Fountains Abbey due to the site’s proximity.
Reacting to the decision to approve the homes, the National Trust said in a statement: “We are extremely disappointed with the decision made. The decision follows a public Inquiry in October 2017, where the Trust presented its case to the Planning Inspector.
“The Trust raised serious concerns that the proposal for residential development would result in harm to the setting of the World Heritage Site of Studley Royal Park.
“The Trust will now consider the conclusions of the report. The Trust will continue to give close scrutiny to the detail of any proposals that come forward for the site, to continue to protect the World Heritage Site and its setting.”
It’s been a long battle for members of the Ripon Residents Planning Group who have been fighting the development every step of the way.
Group member David Ingham said: “We are very, very disappointed, it’s completely the wrong decision. Fountains Abbey is an internationally important site, we shouldn’t just be building hundreds of homes towards it.
“This makes a mockery of it as a World Heritage Site, and it shoots Ripon in the foot. As a group, we gave this everything we could afford. We always knew it was going to be an uphill battle.”
Ripon councillor Peter Horton said the homes would place strain on the city’s existing infrastructure, at a time when other large housing developments have already been approved.
In their planning statement, Gladman said the application site represents a “suitable and sustainable location for housing,” and is well located to existing urban areas.