Councillors reject 500-home urban extension in Yorkshire

Proposals for a 500-home urban extension onto a North Yorkshire market town have been refused by councillors after officers warned over the impact the scheme would have on an area of outstanding natural beauty and its lack of affordable housing provision.


The outline scheme, created for the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate, would have also included a new retirement home and  shop, business space, a pub and community facilities on 21.5 hectares of farmland to the west of Malton.

Ryedale District Council planning officers accepted that the proposals would have some benefits for the area, including the provision of homes for the elderly and employment opportunities.

But they said the Fitzwilliam Estate’s proposed level of affordable housing had fallen from the locally mandated level of 35 per cent to around nine per cent, and that the scheme’s impact on views from the nearby Howardian Hills area of outstanding natural beauty had prompted concern from government environmental adviser Natural England.

In a report to Ryedale's planning committee last week, officers said while the developer’s stated intention to build out the homes in a "Poundbury style" – referring to the Prince of Wales’ new town in Dorset – would bring a new housing offer to the town, the low level of affordable housing "tempers the benefit".

Recommending the scheme for refusal they said: "It is considered that inability of the site to deliver affordable housing in any significant number results in disbenefit for the town.

"The benefits of the development do not outweigh the harm to the intrinsic character and natural beauty of the open countryside and harm to an area of open countryside which by virtue of its natural beauty and intrinsic character forms an attractive approach to Malton."

Officers dismissed claims from Fitzwilliam that Ryedale could not demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land, which the developer argued should trigger the National Planning Policy Framework’s presumption in favour of sustainable development.

Fitzwilliam did not respond to Planning’s request for comment by the publication deadline.

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