Helredale homes set for approval, despite ongoing legal battle

THE building of more than 100 houses across two sites on the east side of Whitby is set to be approved by council planners, despite overwhelming objections and an on-going legal case.

A planning application by Yorkshire Coast Homes to build 72 dwellings at Helredale Gardens and 33 at St Peter’s Road will be discussed at a meeting of Scarborough Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday.

The report prepared by council officers recommends that the plans be allowed to go-ahead even though the majority of residents surveyed are against the development. Objections have also been raised by Whitby Town Council, Sport England and SBC’s own engineering department.

Yorkshire Water has raised concerns about the ability of the drains infrastructure to cope with the new builds and Helredale Neighbourhood Council (HNC) is in an ongoing legal battle about the public’s rights to use the playing fields.

HNC has fought through the courts to save Helredale playing fields.

Its case was turned down by the High Court at a judicial review but the group is now seeking permission to appeal that decision.

It feels the inspector in the original public inquiry was wrong in their interpretation of a point of law relating to useage of public open space.

Viv Wright, chair of HNC, said: “We are taking this as far as we can through the legal system.

“The borough council ignored the results of their own consultation with us, we can’t let them get away with this without a fight, however long it takes.”

Prior to selling off the two parcels of land to Yorkshire Coast Homes in 2008, the borough council carried out a public consultation on its housing plans.

In relation to the Helredale Gardens development 134 people were surveyed. 111 were against it and only 20 in support.

Concerns covered loss of open space and play areas for children, extra traffic and road safety, new houses not going to Whitby people and being allocated to single mothers and unemployed drug users as well as fears over anti-social behavior and the impact on property prices.

While on the St Peter’s Road site 68 were in favour and 59 against, the majority of people were in favour of the flats being upgraded but did not want the land redeveloped.

Officers say the Helredale development has to come first in order to allow the St Peter’s one to take place.

Residents from St Peter’s will be housed in the new homes at Helredale while their new homes are being built and will then move back.

Tenants in other Yorkshire Coast Homes properties will be encouraged to downsize, freeing up their properties for other people on the waiting list.

The report says: “Whitby has the highest need for, and shortfall of, affordable housing within the whole borough.

“There are currently over 600 applicants in housing need and the lack of affordable housing in Whitby is a major concern for the town.

“The 2011 Strategic Housing Market Assessment has identified the need for an additional 84 affordable homes per year from 2011-2015.”