Residents' anger over plans to build 155 homes for military personnel on farmland in North Yorkshire

A local authority which declared a climate emergency has faced criticism for approving plans to build housing estates on greenfield sites.

The land is on Horne Road, opposite Somme Barracks

Residents voiced anger as Richmondshire District Council passing detailed proposals for 155 homes for military personnel across 22 acres of farmland and a paddock off Horne Road, Catterick Garrison.

The decision came just minutes after the authority’s planning committee agreed detailed plans for a further 107 homes nearby, on greenfield land off Cookson Way.

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Developers for both housing estates claimed their proposals followed the authority’s carbon-cutting principles.

The meeting heard the Cookson Way scheme would have a “fabric first” approach to all 107 plots, with solar panels featured on up to 26 plots and electric vehicle charging points in 50 per cent of the proposed homes.

Councillors were told the Horne Road plan had similarly strong environmental credentials to another MoD housing scheme off Wensleyale Road passed last month, when one councillor suggested that plan should be used to set the standards by which developers must reach.

An agent for the MoD said the development would feature more than 400 new trees and net zero carbon measures, such as ground source heat pumps and solar panels.

He said: “The landscape proposals are based on retaining the existing green infrastructure, particularly the mix of woodland off Horne Road. Some tree removal is necessary, but the aim has been to retain all category A trees where possible.”

However, residents called into question why greenfield land had to be built on given the amount of available land in the garrison that has previously been developed.

They claimed the only reason for felling scores of trees to make way for the development was financial.

One resident told members: “This is green belt land. You are in a position to direct a green approach to this application. Please consider the effect on the immediate areas regarding climate change, local objections and concerns.

“From a green council approach that encourages the taxpayer to recycle milk bottle tops to not cutting hedges, save the trees, save our green borders within this application.”

Another resident added: “Talking about being environmentally-friendly and then building an estate on open countryside, felling 50 trees in the process, is a bit like buying a new hybrid car and only using petrol.”

Green councillor Kevin Foster said as the scheme already had outline planning permission it was impossible to stop the building plans. He said while the carbon savings element of the scheme was “brilliant” the MoD had a lot of land elsewhere in the garrison it could have developed.

The council’s leader, Councillor Angie Dale said while she sympathised with residents who would lose beautiful green views from their houses, as the site had been earmarked for housing by the council there was no reason to not approve the proposal.