This post by Robin Taylor provides the historical background to the post ‘What’s Going On Behind The Village Hall?’ Robin has a thorough understating of all things ‘planning’ and held the brief for planning and development on the Parish Council for many years.
Land to the rear of Village Hall and Shop, Walkington
Erection of 17 dwellings
This planning application has now been made and is under consideration by the East Riding Council. It might be helpful to set out a few remarks about the recent history of the decisions which have already been taken.
1. When the Parish Council was consulted on the new Local Plan in September 2012 (which included the aspirations of owners and developers) this land was the subject of consideration. (it was then called WAL7) The East Riding Council observation at that time was “access might be a little awkward”. In October 2012 the Parish Council made representations upon the plan and requested that this site should not be included within the development limits. It was requested that any development should be very small in scale as “access from the main street near to the village hall would introduce turning traffic at a constricted part of the main street”. In the Draft Allocations document the inclusion of the land was rejected by the East Riding Council as the site “is less well related to the existing built pattern of the settlement and there may be access constraints”. At that stage the Parish Council anticipated that the land would be developed for perhaps a handful of dwellings served by a private drive.
2. On 22 July 2013, following a meeting of the East Riding Cabinet, the parish council was informed that there had been a complete change of view by the East Riding and now the land was to be included for development after all. The formal document – the “Draft Local Plan Proposed Major Changes” publication – stated that the reason for this change was that the anticipated density of dwellings was not likely to be achieved on either of the 2 Townend Road sites as a result of protected trees being retained. The plan then indicated that 16 dwellings would be erected on the land.
3. A period of months then passed while the issues were discussed frequently at meetings of the Parish Council and in February 2013 a letter of objection to the allocation was sent to the East Riding Council.
4. In September 2013 the officer responsible for the planning function at the East Riding attended a Parish Council meeting where it was explained that more dwellings needed to be allocated to Walkington and that the highways officer had no objection to the development of the land. Faced with this, the Parish Council tried to insist that the site of “Cheviots” should be included in the development so that a wider entrance could be provided into the land and some car parking and service vehicle facilities could be attached on the frontage. The Parish Council was of the opinion that the ever-increasing traffic on the main street would increase the major safety and environmental problems that already existed and that this would be compounded by fresh obstructions to visibility at this point.
5. In November 2014 a Government Inspector met at County Hall, Beverley to consider concerns about the Plan for the East Riding and the Parish Council made a strong case for this particular proposition being either set aside or fenced in with appropriate constraints.
6. In 2016 the site owners made a planning application for the development of the land with 12 dwellings and a new access adjacent to the village hall. The Council’s officers recommended that the application be approved despite many vigorous objections and the matter was referred to a meeting of the planning committee which was addressed by the Parish Council. As a result the committee decided to refuse planning permission. The applicants appealed that refusal and the issue was considered by an Inspector who allowed the appeal and granted consent in December 2016. It is most significant that the East Riding Council highways officer has never objected to the traffic issues involved in this proposition.
7. Now the application has been made in respect of 17 dwellings on the land. The only point that could be raised in defence of the application is that it provides a proportion (almost half) of affordable smaller homes which have been so regrettably absent from other sites in the village. The concerns about turning traffic waiting in the centre of the main street, the impracticality of access by large goods vehicles, the design of the dwellings and their appearance from the main street, the lack of any kind of comprehensive approach to the development of adjacent land and the likely eventual elimination of convenient parking for the shop and village hall are all matters that should concern residents.