Protest victory as road over common is blocked

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a temporary road over an ancient common have been scrapped after more than 7,000 people signed a petition in protest.

East Riding Council has confirmed that instead of allowing construction traffic over Beverley Westwood to the Beverley Westwood hospital site, local roads will be used instead.

Opponents argued that it would set a dangerous precedent, allowing other developers to build roads to access sites on the fringes of the Westwood.

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Protesters said damage would “be done to the integrity of the Westwood as well as its fauna and flora: trees will be cut down, hedges broken through and grasslands compacted and altered forever”.

East Riding Council is the landowner, but the Pasture Masters, the traditional administrators of the three commons, the Westwood, Swinemoor and Figham pastures, manage the land and protect it from unwanted development.

Chairman Allan English said protecting the pastures was an ongoing battle: “We haven’t heard officially, but unofficially that’s what the drums are saying. They say it would be temporary but there’s no such things as a temporary road. We don’t want a road over the pasture and that’s it.

“They (the council) had more or less mapped out what was going to happen before they came to us.

“They got the developers in place, then they came to try and railroad us into giving permission.

“We are elated they haven’t got permission. If they had it would have been death to us because it meant they could have got any road they liked over the pastures and we wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on.”

However some residents in the streets which will be used for trucks carrying building materials say there are only a few parts in which two-way traffic is possible. One neighbour argued: “There comes a point where common sense must prevail and a carefully managed access across a very small area overrides the protected status of the Westwood...No development or acre of land is worth a child’s life.”

Councillors will meet on June 12 to decide on the plans for the hospital site, which will see four old buildings converted into 25 houses and 30 new dwellings built.

The hospital closed in 2010 and the Humber NHS Foundation Trust chose the PJ Livesey Group as developers.

Andy Wainwright, the council’s head of strategic development, said the plans had been amended several times and now showed the retention of Beaver’s Lodge, which was originally down to be demolished, and the rebuilding part of Porter’s Lodge, following discussions with English heritage.

He said: “It is a massively important site in Beverley, probably one of the most important we’ve had for years.”

Nearly half of the homes will be four bedroomed, with just two one-bedroomed apartments.

He said the new build were primarily townhouses “a modern interpretation of a Victorian townhouse”.

He added: “The development will be accessed by the surrounding streets, the Leases, Albert Terrace, St Mary’s (Terrace) and Woodlands, during construction and once it has been completed.”