Plans to build on helredale fields are “illegal” claims action group

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ATTEMPTS to build houses on Helredale playing fields in Whitby are illegal, claims a group trying to stop the development.

Viv Wright, the secretary of Helredale Neighbourhood Council (HNC), says Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) is acting illegally in light of rulings made at previous hearings.

Last year there was a public inquiry into whether Helredale playing fields should be classed as a village green to safeguard it from being built on.

The residents who put forward the village green application lost their fight but are taking the case to the High Court in a bid to have the inspector’s decision overturned.

A decision on that has yet to be made, however, Yorkshire Coast Homes has applied to SBC for planning permission to build over 100 houses on the site.

The outcome of that planning application hasn’t been decided by the council’s planning committee.

Now Mrs Wright is saying that it was made known at that hearing that the land, which local children have played on for years and residents have used for recreation is designated as public open space.

She told the Gazette: “As far as I am concerned SBC is acting illegally because the judgement at the public inquiry into Helredale Playing Fields more or less made it known that the land is accepted as public open space.

“That report was accepted by North Yorkshire County Council and it has obviously been accepted by SBC. You can’t develop on public open space – it has to be kept for recreation.

“If you went back to the inquiry the answer was sitting there. As far as I can see it is a legality that they can’t develop on it.”

Scarborough Borough Council Head of Legal and Support Services Ian Anderson said: “The borough council is well aware of the legal requirements that relate to the disposal of land pursuant to the Local Government Act 1972.

“However, the comments have been made in response to an application made to the planning authority for planning consent within a planning process.

“The planning committee is not being asked to consider issues relating to the disposal of land. Such decisions are ultimately a matter for the council’s Cabinet.”