Residents set to battle plans to build more than 800 homes in Yorkshire village

Residents in a Yorkshire village are gearing up for another battle over a big new housing estate being planned on their doorsteps.

House builders Taylor Wimpey and Miller Homes have come onboard with a major development just to the south of Marske and bounded by Longbeck Road, the A1085 and A174, which is being proposed by landowner the West Midlands Pension Fund.

It will entail 812 new homes, a convenience store, primary school, nursery, a GP surgery and pharmacy, community hall, a petrol filling station, a restaurant, pub and hotel.

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Fresh planning documents were recently submitted to Redcar and Cleveland Council and a public consultation is due to run until the 29th of this month.

Marske resident Peter FinlinsonMarske resident Peter Finlinson
Marske resident Peter Finlinson

Those protesting believe elements of the plans are flawed and want the consultation period to be extended.

A meeting held in the community centre in Marske last week to discuss the development and agree an action plan was attended by about 50 local residents. The plans have been years in the making.

Outline planning permission was originally refused by Redcar and Cleveland Council, which received hundreds of objections, a decision which was successfully appealed by the applicant and overturned by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate in 2017.

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An application for reserved matters approval – essentially agreeing the detail of the plans such as appearance, layout, scale and landscaping with the principle of the development having been green-lighted – was submitted two years ago, but the consultation process at that time did not reach a conclusion and the matters did not progress to the planning committee stage.

Marske resident Peter Finlinson said this was because of a cyber attack at the council, along with the covid-19 pandemic and fresh surveys that needed to be carried out as part of the development.

He said: “There is a general concern that residents’ voices are not being heard and that their opinions and views are being ignored. Nobody wants this development to go ahead as the general feeling is it will harm both existing residents and overwhelm the present settlement.

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“There is a grudging resentment about the way the process is being handled and I cannot see any harm in an extension of the consultation process. At the meeting residents were holding their hands up in horror having had the plans explained to them.

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“We are asking for an extension to the consultation period so the public are given the opportunity to better understand the scheme, meetings with the developer and the planning people as well, and at the moment we are getting zero response.”

Objectors’ concerns include the potential impact on an ancient monument in the area – an ‘at risk’ manorial dovecote which originates from the 14th century – not enough affordable housing, earth barriers or ‘bunds’ planned for around the boundary of the site to limit noise and plans for a footway under the railway bridge which crosses the A1085 into Marske, which was one of the conditions included with the outline planning permission that was eventually signed off.

Mr Finlinson said a local steering group made up of residents, council members and officers determined that the footway, which would narrow the carriageway and include a one-way system with traffic lights, was not acceptable.

A proposal for a pedestrian footbridge at Marske railway station was put forward instead to provide a link between the housing development and the existing settlement in Marske.

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He said: “This was noted in council by the previous and present administrations and the council agreed to support residents to lobby the developer to adopt this new scheme. The amended application completely ignores this agreement.

“A drawing has been provided for the footway scheme which is little more than a sketch.”

Mr Finlinson said the estimated cost of a new disabled access-compliant pedestrian footbridge would be £2.5m, but no funding was in place for it.

He also said there were fears about road safety on the A1085 approach from the Quarry Lane roundabout with proposals for two new junctions, a pedestrian crossing and bus stops.

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He said: “This is before a roundabout that is dodgy in any case. What they are doing is creating a series of bottlenecks all the way up the A1085 in about a mile of road. The original application was made pre-covid and the applicant does not acknowledge we now live in a different world.

“The recent census shows a decline in the under-35 age group in the area and an increase in those who are elderly. The application seems to discriminate against those with disabilities or mobility problems as there are no single storey properties shown on the drawings.

“The prices for the housing are also going to be about £100,000 above what the average market price is in Marske so existing residents will be out priced. The overall need for housing has changed since the date of the [Planning Inspectorate] appeal.

“The Prime Minister has pledged that where possible future developments will be on brownfield sites. This development is on prime arable land.”

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Saltburn, Marske and New Marske Parish Council previously expressed concerns about a lack of children’s play areas in the plans, the potential for flooding on the land in question, inadequate secondary school provision in the area, along with congestion on surrounding roads.

Councillor Stuart Smith, the chairman of Redcar and Cleveland Council’s regulatory committee, said he was uncertain as to the timescale as to when members may be asked to make a decision over the reserved matters.

Coun Smith also said highways issues arising from the new development would not be part of members’ considerations as these matters were decided in the granting of outline planning permission.

Taylor Wimpey and Miller Homes have been chosen as the preferred developers for the scheme and have submitted updated plans for their respective phases, which will include 402 new homes to be built by the former and 410 by the latter, a mixture of semi-detached, detached and terraced homes.

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Other elements of the development will be brought forward by other parties.

The two firms said in a joint statement: “We have submitted updated plans to Redcar and Cleveland Council as part of the live reserved matters planning application for the proposed new development in Marske.

“In line with the approved outline planning permission, our proposals include a total of 812 new homes and we will continue to work closely with the council to ensure that the development successfully integrates with the local community.”