Thursday, February 10, 2011

Decision on 23 affordable housing application in Holme on Spalding Moor deferred

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.


Bob Hill said...

I thank you Paul for being prepared to listen to our concerns, and then taking the time to independently evaluate and confirm the validity of our objections.
I would like to personally confirm my support for smaller infill plots of 2 or 3 affordable houses, allowing total community integration.

Anonymous said...

I too support the idea of smaller clusters of affordable housing. Or maybe suitable homes currently on the market could be purchased, perhaps alleviating the need to build so many new ones?
And I have to say, it's good to have the support Paul, thank you for listening...

Kev Owen said...

"Affordable housing"? Where did that phrase spring from?
Affordable to whom? What do the words "affordable housing" actually mean in Pounds sterling?

In Goole we have recently demolished two whole streets full of serviceable houses that were already 'affordable' (needing only a little modernisation) in favour of one of these so called "affordable housing" developments.

I have a sneaking suspicion that 'palms are being greased' in order for perfectly good bricks and mortar to be torn down in the name of "affordable housing"?
When will the powers that be come to realise that 'new' isn't always 'better' especially where houses are concerned and stop tearing down serviceable real-estate in favour of building characterless and speed built boxes made of ticky-tacky.

Alec Wild said...

Your address to the Planning Department on Tuesday 8th February, was well appreciated. I for one can see the need for affordable houses in Holme on Spalding Moor ( but how many?). The amount of houses needed and where to be built should always be about debate and transparency and true need. I believe the whole population of the village should be consulted; this should not only be a matter for the Parish Council or Planning Departments to make recommendation on Planning Applications. Increase in population affects the whole infrastructure of the village. The past information used to access the need for social housing in the village used two surveys, the 2001 Census and the East Riding of Yorkshire Housing need and market Assessment carried out in 2006 and published in 2007.This survey cannot have been a total reflection of the social housing need for Holme on Spalding Moor. Only 249 responses were returned from Holme on Spalding Moor from 1324 questionnaires sent to all the house holds. How was this information analysed to warrant a report for the need for 10 affordable houses for each of the next 5 years 2007 to 2012? A total of 52 new affordable homes proposed for Holme on Spalding Moor residents only. The only affordable (social) houses built in that time was 3 in Bailywood Close not given to Holme residents and 4 not yet completed in Port Royal cul de sac, information suggests that these homes when completed have been allocated 2 for Holme residents, 1 family from Leeds and a family from Goole. 7 houses built out of a total of 52 (10 per year) that was suggested that Holme on Spalding Moor needed for social housing needs when the surveys were analysed. Over the same period over 120 new HIGH PRICE properties have been built in the village purchased by people from Towns and Cities.3 sites with ransom strips held by property developers to stop sites inside the village from been built on for affordable (social housing) HOLME ON SPALDING MOOR HELD TO RANSOM for sites best suited for village integration and infill, to avoid of the need to build in open countryside. The survey material carried out in Holme on Spalding moor 2001 and 2006 expires at the end of March 2011, clearly the social houses were not needed over the passed 5 years or they would have been built. The East Riding Council have completed a new housing need survey that closed on the 8th February 2011. This year is also the Census year, I trust this new information will give a better indication of housing needs in Holme on Spalding Moor for the future and give time to access the infrastructure needs to develop a more sustainable and stable community. The completion of the Local Development Framework carried out by the East Riding Council over the past years will also indicate more suitable sites that are or maybe allocated for housing in Holme on Spalding Moor. Residents can help to make a better future for Holme on Spalding Moor. I hope this application is refused for the 23 proposed social houses in Sands Lane that are not required in such a massive development and the new information used to give a true reflection what is required for the betterment and future of the Village and houses built in the village and not in open countryside. Fewer Houses built on smaller sites to help integration into the environment and the village is needed. Sustainability can also be better managed with regards to employment, transport, school, doctors, shops, car travel has examples, if smaller sites are used and fewer houses built on them each year over a period of the next five years.

Anonymous said...

"I suggest Chevin go back to the drawing board" you say Paul. Even better if our Parish Council tried to work for our community and in the open - not in a secret sub-committee - consulted with the residents about what was needed and then contacted 3 or 4 housing associations and invited them to explain how they would go about satisfying that need. The one which offered the best deal for the community would be selected to proceed with the support of the community - and from what I've seen of Chevin - I'll bet it won't be them.....

Anonymous said...

What used to be fields in Holme are now taken up by housing estates and also property's which use to have large gardens have now dwellings upon them. This village has changed so vastly over the years so to some extent it is not recognisable. I can remember Sands Lane when there were no estates down it, as well as Back Lane, and Old Road. So does the village need to get any bigger? We have already lost it's community spirit, gone are the days when you could walk into the village and you knew everyone you met. Today, no one knows you or anyone else. But unfortunately that is a sign of the times we now live in. Building more houses whether it be under the disguise of affordable housing will be just another stepping stone to more residential development of valuable farm land. Our Parish Council should be accountable to the residents and support the concerns of the community as a whole.

Debbie Bullock said...

Annonymouse post at 8.24
I don't think the increase of housing over the years has led to a loss of Community Spirit. It's how you define Community Spirit.

OK, so I don't know every person who lives here, but whether I know people or not I always say Hello or Good morning in passing. And there are a large proportion that I do know well.

To say there is no Community Spirit is harsh to all those people who give up their spare time to help make the community what it is - be it managing the village hall, running the football, scouting, or the Friends of School to name a few. There's lots to do in the village if you go and look for it. It won't come and find you.

As your're annoymous I can't see who you are or if you're already involved in any of the clubs or activities in the village. If you aren't involved in anything yet - go along, then you'll get to know more people so you can say hello to them in the street.

As for the Parish Council - I'm a recent recruit, and with a full election of all parish councillors due on May 5th you will have your opportunity to stand and make the parish council what you want it to be.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure there is much interest, particularly among the younger generation, in this new housing. If the couple of comments I have heard are anything to go by, the general feeling could be that they will have to move away from the village to get work (assuming there is any) and might not be living here.

These new homes also seem to be predominantly two bedroomed,aimed at smaller families, and anyone in the village currently living in a two bedroomed home but really needing to upgrade to three bedroomed accomodation, presumably wouldn't be eligible because they already have a roof over their head? Surely it would be better to have made a larger proportion of these homes three bedroomed?

Let us hope that this apparent lack of interest in these 'homes for local people' doesn't result in the houses being offered to anyone on the housing list. After all, they are being built for local people, at least , this is what we were assured of!! But I do wonder where the massive need for housing was when sites like Marshalls woodyard were developed, and that has been developed since the parish plan was drawn up.
And assuming the interest is there, why such a large development? Wouldn't a couple of smaller sites have been integrated more easily?

An awful lot of Holme residents have been trying to make their collective voice heard recently, but with the exception of one or two people amongst those making the decisions, no-one, sadly, wants to listen...