Whitby families celebrate village green victory

The land off Highfield Road which is the subject of a village green application.
The land off Highfield Road which is the subject of a village green application.

FAMILIES are “over the moon” after their bid to safeguard land from development near their homes in Whitby was approved today.

Councillors have made the surprise decision at a meeting this morning (11 January) to go against a recommendation made by a barrister who presided over a £15,000 public inquiry held last year, for the land at Castle Park not to be registered as a village green.

There were cheers and rounds of applause from residents as the decision was made in their favour at a packed meeting of North Yorkshire County Council’s planning and regulatory functions sub-committee at Sneaton Castle.

The vote was split with two councillors voting in favour and two against but Coun Cliff Trotter made the casting vote for the land off Highfield Road to be registered as a village green, apart from the tennis courts, following a long, detailed discussion.

Joanne Wood of Field Close said: “We are over the moon.

“We can accept we have lost just a small area of recreational land with the tennis courts.

“I feel absolutely delighted.”

The village green application was submitted back in 2009 by local resident Sue Grimoldby and residents have been fighting ever since to protect the land.

After the application was submitted in May 2010, Annington Developments who owned the land off Highfield Road and had planning permission to build 41 houses, 10 of which were affordable, made the decision to auction the land with no reserve.

A small development company established in 2009, known as Yorkshire County Homes Ltd, bid for the land against residents and won.

It then instructed solicitors who filed an objection against the application in June 2010 – around 14 months after the village green application was submitted.

See Friday 18 January’s Whitby Gazette for the full story.