Houses approved, but Beverley group will 'fight on against urban sprawl'
CONTROVERSIAL housing plans for the northern edge of Beverley have been given the go-ahead by a planning inspector – sparking fears green fields are now vulnerable across the town's boundary.
Linden Homes has won its appeal to build 141 new homes at Woodhall Way, after the £17m scheme was unanimously rejected by East Riding Council's planning committee because of concerns about access routes and design.
Now, residents fear the floodgates will open for housing sprawl across the town's green fields.
They are preparing to fight a further appeal next month – for 163 David Wilson Homes and a bypass north of Driffield Road – but claim the Planning Inspectorate is ignoring local opinion.
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Resident David Tucker, of the North Beverley Action Group, said: "I think Beverley is going to suffer from a national hysteria for more housing, fuelled by a theory this will aid economic regeneration.
"There is no proven link for this – people are not buying houses and people are not particularly building them.
"The principle that this part of the town would remain semi-rural has now gone.
"I fear the floodgates have now opened for development."
But Mr Tucker vowed residents would not let up in their battle against housing sprawl.
He insisted: "We will continue to fight these developers.
"Unfortunately, national policy is riding roughshod over people's opinions as to how their communities should develop."
Roy Dennett, also from the group, said: "This development was opposed by local residents, the parish council and East Riding Council. So much for localism!"
Shan Oakes, of Beverley Green Party, said: "There is a perception that development equals growth and I guess the people who run the planning appeal process are working on that basis.
"We are seeing greenfield sites that are needed for food production being built on for profit and we have to challenge that."
Ms Oakes warned Beverley's market town identity was now being threatened by over-development.
She said: "We are becoming an urban sprawl, it throws us out of proportion as a market town.
"Our infrastructure of roads, sewers and schools is under massive strain."
According to planning inspector Kathleen Ellison, who allowed the Woodhall Way appeal, the scheme "represents a sustainable proposal for development".
The inspector found the plans made appropriate provision for flood risk and impact on roads and concluded "it would make a positive contribution to its surroundings".
The 141-home scheme is expected to get under way this autumn, taking about four years to complete, depending on sales performance.
A draft blueprint for the future drawn up by East Riding Council would see some 3,400 new homes built in the town.