This week I appeared before the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Western Area Planning Committee to speak against a proposal by Chevin Housing for 23 affordable houses in Holme on Spalding Moor.
The decision of the Committee was to defer and reconsider at the next meeting after a site visit.
I had appeared before the Committee a short while ago to speak in favour of an affordable housing application in village, for 4 dwellings on a small plot of undeveloped land, and of such a scale so as to be incorporated into the community with relative ease.
This is not the case for this 23 dwelling proposal and I pressed the Committee to give significant weight the rate at which a community can absorb affordable housing.
The application had been compared with a similar scheme in Newport, something I fully supported – but was very different because of that community’s capacity to absorb the properties and locally available employment.
I had spent a lot of time looking at this application, when previous sites in the village where identified but fell through, and certainly before this site was identified – I attended the public consultation event and have listened to many, many HOSM people.
Almost all accept the need for affordable housing in HOSM, especially for young people. There is a big difference between people who presently live in the village or have a close connection with it wanting affordable housing and people from outside the community indicating HOSM as their preferred village in which to live. On balance the figures demonstrate a need from within those living in the village – But I would certainly take exception to this need being described as massive.
I recognise the excellent work done by HOSM Parish Council in looking to address the affordable housing need in the village. Without their drive and determination this proposal would never have got off the ground.
The site selection is controversial to say the least – the whole process has raised a number of very series issues and the behaviour of the developer is not something they should be proud of – including sponsoring the Parish Council Magazine in which they announced their plans, resulting in the Parish Council finding themselves in a position that, under advice, didn’t even comment on the application when it was before them.
There are numerous better sites for housing in the village – I am led to believe this was not the first or even second choice. It is on the outskirts of the village a considerable walk from what most believe is the centre of the village. For the applicant to cynically re-define the centre of the village as the school in order to support the proposal is nothing short of a ‘manipulation of logic’, it is embarrassing and it has not gone down at all well with people.
The site is wet, neighbouring Bailywood Close have had drainage issues – I am led to believe one of the delays in getting this application before the Committee has been around drainage. Yes any site can be drained – But what is confusing here is that the flood risk assessment asks that soakaway tests are carried out and the results submitted to the Environment Agency – this has quite simply not been done and I can see no reason what so ever why it hasn’t. So how can this be considered acceptable when it clearly isn’t.
I have spoken to many residents, and when one considers the population of HOSM of 1,286 households, to have a total of 636 residents (that’s people who live in the village not in other communities), opposing this sends out a very clear message – there is not the support for this proposal for 23 affordable houses.
The majority are not NIMBY’s - the proposed development is not near them, but they recognise the pressures that will be put on local services if an extra 23 families move into the village.
The one letter of support pretty much nails the issue “Smaller infill plots of 2 or 3 houses would be more acceptable”. The Planning Committee report was shows that that even back in 2006 it was suggested that a phased development of 10 per year would be appropriate – this is what is needed rather than this large affordable housing development.
If this was a private developer wanting to build 23 houses outside of the village development limit – would it have even got as far as the Committee – I suggest not?
I suggest Chevin go back to the drawing board, consult with and take the community with them, and find a more suitable site - or preferably sites in HOSM.
Affordable Housing - A disappointing result at the second meeting of the planning committee after the site visit
As Ward Councillor I again spoke against the Chevin Housing planning application for 23 affordable houses when it was heard by the ERYC Planning Committee after the initial deferment, not that I didn’t support the need for affordable housing, but I had concerns with the location and as to how the village services could cope with a large influx of people at one time that we will see with such a significant development. I would have personally liked to have seen much more of a phased process - so the families moving into affordable housing could be integrated into the community at a reasonable rate – preventing a ‘them and us’ situation.
I thought local democracy would have won the day, but it didn’t. I feel very disappointed for all the 636 HOSM people who had taken the time to write an objection to this application. I have spoken to many HOSM people, and when you consider the population of HOSM is 1,286 households, to have a total of 636 people, opposing this sent out a very clear message – there was not local support for this proposal for 23 affordable houses.
The behaviour of the developer Chevin was not something they should be proud of, particularly in cynically redefining the centre of the village as the school to justify their choice of site.
We will now have to make sure that the new homes go to HOSM people or those who have a close connection with the village.
If anyone knows of people who fit this criterion and are interested in affordable housing please pass me their details.