Councillors to take legal action against own authority

propesed housing development at snaeton castle farm
propesed housing development at snaeton castle farm

Two Whitby ward councillors are considering taking legal action against their own authority after it potentially gave the green light for almost 250 houses to be built on greenfield land.

Following yesterday’s controversial decision by the borough council planning board to grant outline planning permission for the development at Sneaton Castle Cllrs Jane Kenyon-Miller and David Chance have hired a solicitor and worked through the night on a fighting the decision.

They are looking into whether there could be grounds to appeal or even a judicial review and are prepared to take the fight, on behalf of residents, to the High Court if needs be.

Today, Cllr Kenyon told the Whitby Gazette: “We are taking legal advice from a lawyer and we will then be advised as to the way forward. Under the planning system, if an application has been refused, the applicant gets the right to appeal but what do we get? It is an unfair playing field and that is what we are looking at.”

The proposals from York based developers, S Harrison - who were behind the ill-fated Tesco bid four years ago - will see 246 houses on land at Sneaton Castle Farm and a care home.

It is the latest in a series of proposals put forward for the site over recent years, which belongs to the sisters from the Order of the Holy Paraclete.

The plans were for a mixture of two, three and four bedroom houses and 21 bungalows; 40 per cent of the homes would be classed as ‘affordable’.

A number of these would have been managed by Tees Valley Housing Association offering social rent, affordable rent, shared ownership and rent to buy schemes.

They have been met with huge opposition from local residents, Whitby Town Councillors and the Whitby ward councillors who all voted against it but in the end the vote of eight councillors in favour and five against was carried.

Cllr Kenyon added: “People were angry and upset when they left the meeting. David and I worked last night to examine the legislation relating to an application of this size and impact.

“There were so many objections and the voices from Whitby were solid. The town council, Helen Barker on behalf of the residents and both our councillors, we were all singing from the same hymn sheet.

“It was Scarborough councillors that pushed it through - but unfortunately that is the democratic system.”

In the meeting though, the borough council’s planning boss told councillors “it would be very difficult for us to sustain a refusal [on this application.”