Housing plan on former pig farm next to Wensleydale Railway deferred

Uncertainty surrounds the future of a plan to build an 88-home estate some eight months after being granted planning permission, following a series of safety-related concerns being raised by residents and councillors.

Hambleton District Council’s planning committee has agreed to defer a decision over the proposed development of up to 88 dwellings on a former pig farm at Blind Lane, Aiskew, beside the Wensleydale heritage railway, in a bid to resolve the concerns.

A meeting of the committee heard the consent had been given with a condition which prevented the occupation of any of the homes until Bluebell Way, on a neighbouring estate had been adopted by North Yorkshire County Council.

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Councillors had raised concerns if additional traffic calming measures were required on Bluebell Way then they could not be implemented if the road was not adopted as the highway authority, leading to a road safety risk.

Blind Lane, AskiewBlind Lane, Askiew
Blind Lane, Askiew

Officers told the meeting the reason the road had not been adopted was due to the sewer network into which the road drains not being adopted by Yorkshire Water, which had concerns over the scheme.

Councillors heard the outcome of talks with Yorkshire Water were uncertain and if the highway authority were to adopt the road they would be taking some risk and liability over the drainage from the road into the sewer network.

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An officer said: “We have a situation where we don’t know at this stage when the highway will be adopted, but at the same time the authority is satisfied the road as built provides a safe means of access.”

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Officers said they believed imposing a condition that the developer undertook a study to prove the road is safe to use before any home on the estate was occupied would address road safety concerns.

However, Aiskew resident Michael Broad said despite the efforts of developers to introduce road safety devices such as a rising bollard, due to congestion motorists from the estate would use Blind Lane, a road with steep gradient used by many children, elderly people and for heavy agricultural machinery.

He said: “Walking down there is going to be treacherous and I think just around the corner there’s going to be a fatal accident if this project goes forward.

“There’s towards 90 houses being built on this new site. At any peak time there could be 200 cars going to work going on to Bluebell Way, plus Bluebell Way’s traffic as well.”

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An agent for the developers told the committee it had secured an agreement to make sure Bluebell Way met safety standards.

Nevertheless, Bedale councillor Mike Barningham said as the scheme had been further examined more issues over surface water disposal, access to the estate and street lighting had emerged.

He said: “The issues haven’t really been sorted. It’s all been conditioned providing the sewer is adopted, providing the road is adopted and the lighting is adopted and at the moment the risk is too great. Obviously the developer isn’t willing to take the risk, we’ve heard that, so why should anybody else?”