Village hopes planning changes will halt farm homes project

RESIDENTS of a Domesday Book village are hoping that a radical change in Government planning guidelines will scupper development plans they fear would ruin their historic community near Scarborough.

Members of Scalby Village Trust are optimistic that the abolition of regional strategies will mean that plans for 520 houses at High Mill Farm, Scalby, will be halted.

They also hope that broader plans – to build 1,720 homes on three sites in the area – will also have to go back to the drawing board.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When it granted outline consent for the scheme, Scarborough Council said it had to deal with the application in the context of regional guidelines – meaning its hands were tied to an extent by housebuilding and affordable housing targets.

Scalby Village Trust chairman Caroline Pindar said: "We have always said that local democracy was being ignored because of the regional targets that local authorities were forced to follow.

"Now those regional strategies have been scrapped we now hope that the application will be looked at again and that local democracy be respected and local feelings and objections carry more weight."

The trust campaign group – Save Our Scalby – has always argued that 520 houses was far too many and would swamp local services such as schools and GPs and ruin the village.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When the scheme was passed by just one vote in January, there were 455 objections – around 35 per cent of the properties in the area.

At the time, the council's head of regeneration Pauline Elliott said planning policies required the council to grant permission for 560 dwellings each year up to 2026 – and the need to provide a broader mix of housing meant looking at greenfield sites on the edge of town.

But now the writing is on the wall for the so-called Regional Strategies – guidelines which dictated to local authorities how many houses they had to build and where.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, wants to hand decisions of housing supply back to local authorities, without all the baggage of regional numbers and plans.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As reported by the Yorkshire Post, he said the change was to stop the green belt being concreted over and put power back into the hands of local communities.

He also told local authorities to apply the change in legislation to any decisions currently being taken.

"We are delighted at this change of policy, particularly at the speed at which it has been made," added Mrs Pindar. "But we now want to see councillors and the local authority respond to this change and listen to the strength of opposition to the High Mill Farm development, which would ruin the area."

Overall proposals for a total of 1,720 new homes in Scalby were set out in two council documents, the Core Strategy Development Plan and the Housing Allocations Development Plan (Preferred Options).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The documents suggest that three areas of land could ultimately be allocated for housing – Northfield Way/Castlemount for 800 homes, Ridge Green for 400 homes and High Mill Farm for 520.

A Scarborough Council spokesman said: "The planning authority will take the application back to planning committee at a date to be arranged and all those who made representations will be informed.

"We have been informed that further guidance from the Government on the issue of regional spatial strategies is imminent and this will be taken into account in any report made to the planning committee."