Residents are set to gather for a public meeting over plans for a housing development, ‘which could change the face’ of a village in the Dales.
An outline application was submitted in early December by applicants Hollings & Robinson to build up to 60 homes to the south of Meadow Lane, directly off Main Street in Darley.
Darley and Menwith Parish Council Chairman, Sue Welsh, says the meeting on Thursday, January 24 at Darley Memorial Hall has been arranged after several concerned residents contacted her over the plans.
She said: “Darley has always been a ribbon village, with small sections of in-fill joining up the dwellings along Main Street over the past 60 years or so. A large block of houses in the village would change the shape and character of the village.”
Planning documents show proposals for 53 houses, 18 of which would be affordable. The land, three hectares across two agricultural fields, is part of a site allocated for housing in Harrogate Borough Council’s draft Local Plan - DR14 for 88 houses.
While the parish council will also meet later this month to speak on the application, it has previously raised concerns of the allocation, which is located in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A series of public hearings are set to be held, led by a Government inspector, to scrutinise the proposed local plan which allocates enough land for 14,000 new homes in the district by 2035.
Agent for the development, Lister Haigh, say ‘ample opportunity’ was given to raise issues over the sites allocation, and that a public consultation leaflet on the application was distributed across the parish.
In a statement they said the plans ‘deliver much-need housing, without significantly changing the shape or character of the village’: “The evolving needs of both the local and wider community require the expansion of some of our much-cherished settlements, which is unavoidable, these arguments have already been had in the Local Plan process, but this development will provide a logical, sympathetic enhancement to Darley allowing new families to come to the village and support local society.”
With 300 dwellings already in the village the parish council has written to the inspector, saying that allocations for up to 97 new homes, ‘doubling the size of the village were disproportionate and inappropriate.
In a document, produced by Directions Planning Consultancy Ltd on the parish councils behalf, they wrote: "Quite simply, the Parish of Darley consists of 450 dwellings, but the actual village consists of 300 dwellings. In recent years, planning permission has been granted for 61 new dwellings which means there will be a roughly 14 percent increase in the number of houses across the Parish and a 20 percent increase in the actual size of the village.
"The Local Plan looks to allocate a further 97 new dwellings during the Plan period, which means there will be approximately 50 percent more houses in the village as a result of planning permissions recently granted and the proposed allocations. It is considered disproportionate and inappropriate for the size of the village to be doubled. Given the intention of the AONB designation is to conserve the existing landscape and its scenic beauty then development on such a scale is simply inappropriate.
"To double the size of a settlement simply cannot be considered to accord with the principle of conservation outlined under paragraph 115 of the National Planning Policy Framework."