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‘We’ll be over-run’ claim as Skipton homes plan approved
A shortfall of new homes being built in Craven left councillors with “no choice” but to approve outline plans for a new housing estate in Skipton this week.
Planning permission for 114 new homes off North Parade was given on Monday – despite councillors’ concerns that the town was becoming over-run with plans for large-scale developments.
There were also concerns that no Skipton councillors were involved in the controversial decision.
Craven District Council’s planning committee heard from a resident of North Parade that the development would increase traffic and put a strain on the infrastructure of the area.
But despite the majority of members voicing concerns, particularly about access via Cawder Bridge, they were told the failure of the council to reach its housing target of 160 per year over five years meant they had little choice but to approve it.
A detailed application will now follow, and the project will include 40 per cent affordable housing as well as a convenience store.
Ward councillor Robert Heseltine (Ind) pointed out that three authorities – North Yorkshire County Council, Craven District Council and Skipton Town Council – stood to make hundreds of thousands of pounds each from the development.
He and fellow planning committee member Paul English (Lib Dem) were barred from taking part in the vote because they are members of the town council, which stands to profit by selling a piece of land to the developer if full planning permission is given.
But Coun English challenged this because no Skipton member was part of the decision process.
Coun Heseltine added that developers were circling Craven like “vultures’” and Skipton already had hundreds of new houses in the pipeline.
“The cumulative effect of this is a ticking time bomb set to destroy the special qualities of our town and its environment,” he said.
He said the lack of a local plan left councillors without any choice but to approve the houses and suggested money from the Government for new homes was also an incentive.
“It is alleged that Skipton Town Council will receive more than half a million pounds from a full consent, Craven District Council will receive £1 million in New Homes Bonus, North Yorkshire education will receive a commuted sum of £231,000 and additionally, North Yorkshire will receive £250,000 New Homes Bonus,” he said.
“Craven’s finances have become reliant on the millions it will receive from the New Homes Bonus, and worse still on the business rates from the proposed Sainsbury’s store on the edge of the western bypass, which will suck the lifeblood from the retail heart of Skipton.”
Fellow ward councillor, Andy Solloway (Ind), also criticised the plans and feared the 114 homes would be just a first phase.
He said together with 110 new homes at Elsey Croft, and a plan for new housing between Horse Close and the canal, which has yet to be submitted, it was time for a halt on new developments.
John Gladwyn, for developers Amendale Property and Keyhaven Homes, said there was still a long way to go before the application was ready in detail and there was still much negotiation to Councillors were told the council had received just nine letters of objection, including one representing six residents of North Parade.