More than 80 homes to be built on greenbelt land due to 'very special circumstances'

An 83-home development on green belt land in a village near York has won approval from councillors – despite considerable opposition.

Members of the planning committee agreed with City of York Council officials, who said there were ‘very special circumstances’ that outweighed any harm to the green belt land off Eastfield Lane, Dunnington.

The plans for a mix of one, two, three and four-bed properties, including 25 affordable homes, attracted 59 objections – including from Dunnington Parish Council – and four letters of support.

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Speaking during public participation, conservative Osbaldwick and Derwent ward councillor Martin Rowley, whose ward covers the site, said there were “multiple acres of brownfield sites inside the A64 and ring road boundary that could be developed” other than Dunnington.

Homes will be built on the land off Eastfield Lane in York

He was challenged by planning committee member Councillor Nigel Ayre, who said: “There are not enough brownfield sites to deliver all the housing that the Conservative government insist we build – there has to be some take on the green belt.”

His statement was backed up by a council officer.

The planning report to councillors stated that the location of the site at the edge of an existing settlement, the city’s unmet housing need and the minimal damage to York’s historic and natural environment were all reasons for approving the development.

Committee member Mark Warters, an independent Osbaldwick and Derwent ward councillor, argued strongly to defer the application until more details of the local plan – York’s as yet unapproved development masterplan – were decided.

He said deciding the application beforehand would be “totally wrong” and would “bring the whole local plan process into disrepute”.

The Dunnington land is earmarked for development in York’s draft local plan.

Coun Jonny Crawshaw said: ‘If we’re waiting for a local plan before we start making decisions on things then we could be waiting an incredibly long time.”

Coun Ayre said: “I think it’s very important we don’t put a drawbridge up around Dunnington and say nobody else is welcome in the village apart from those that are already there.

“The residents of Dunnington itself have stated that their own children are unable to afford to live in Dunnington, and without some supply of housing that will get worse.”

Coun Michael Pavlovic said: “York has a situation in which our young people are unable to afford to live in the city in which they were born or the village which they were born in.

“This scheme will deliver 30 per cent affordable housing and therefore it will start to address some of the issues.”