Villagers optimistic that scrapping of national building targets will scupper massive development project

Mark Branagan

PLANS opposed by hundreds of people for 1,700 homes in a Domesday Book village may have to go back to the drawing board following the scrapping of national housebuilding targets.

Members of Scalby Village Trust are optimistic that the axeing of regional strategies will mean an end to the scheme for 520 houses at High Mill Farm, Scalby, near Scarborough, which attracted nearly 500 objections.

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They also hope that broader plans – to build 1,720 homes on three sites in the area – will also become casualties of the new approach to local planning.

When it granted outline consent for the scheme before the General Election, Scarborough Council admitted its hands were tied to a large extent by house-building and affordable housing targets.

Now it has been confirmed the proposals to build 520 houses at High Mill Farm will have to go back to the authority in October.

Yesterday campaigners sent out a rallying call to villagers in Scalby to make known their opposition to the planned huge housing development.

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The village trust says when the authority considers the application afresh in October it should consider it in the context of the existing Local Plan.

It says the application would go against the Local Plan as the site of the proposed development is outside identified development limits.

It is urging the council to refuse the application and look again at housing need based on historical trends and expected population growth.

The trust is also in correspondence with the council about the legality of building an access bridge onto publicly owned land known as the Millennium Field.

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Village Trust chairman Caroline Pindar said: “We are pleased that this application is being considered again but it is important that people in Scalby make their views known ahead of the planning meeting in October.

“The council needs to be aware of the strength of feeling that this is not the right place for a development of this size. It is against the Local Plan and would put too much strain on local amenities.”

The trust campaign group – Save Our Scalby – has always argued that the High Mill Farm development of 520 houses was far too large, would put too much strain on local facilities and ruin the village. When it went to council there were 455 objections – around 35 per cent of the properties in the area.

Trust secretary Sheila Johnson said: “This is excellent news and gives those who objected – around 500 – a further opportunity to make representations.

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“The committee should be urged to refuse the application in the light of the changed policy and instruct officers to set attainable targets after examining alternative sites.”

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).

The documents suggested 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.

Before Labour fell from power its planning policies required Scarborough 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 Green Field sites on the edge of town.

The council’s Cabinet member for planning, Derek Bastiman, confirmed the High Mill Farm scheme would be reconsidered by the planning committee in October.