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Councillors 'minded' to approve 76-home Staveley scheme

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 07:13

By Thomas Barrett, Local Democracy Reporter

The site on Minskip Road.

Councillors said today they were 'minded' to approve a 76-home scheme in Staveley despite hearing concerns about the potential for gypsum-related ground stability issues.

It means the homes are now likely to be built but a final decision will be made at a later date once legal documents and conditions are agreed.

Plans were submitted last year for the scheme which would be built on the edge of the village off Minskip Road and opposite Staveley Nature Reserve.

The developer Thomas Alexander Homes said 40% of the properties would be classed as affordable with the majority having either two or three bedrooms.

Councillors on the Harrogate and Knaresborough planning committee heard from objector John Carter who said two different developers had pulled out of previous proposals at the site due to fears about gypsum in the area, which is a layer of water-soluble rock that can cause voids and sinkholes.

However, North Yorkshire Council said in a report prepared for councillors that it was satisfied the site was safe for development.

Despite this, Graham Bowland from Staveley and Copgrove Parish Council urged councillors to reject the plans as he said the officer’s report was “incomplete and misleading”.

Planning agent Matt Burrow spoke on behalf of the developer and said the company had gone “over and above” the council’s planning policy requirements on gypsum and included reports by professional engineers.

The application has proved to be controversial in Staveley and has received 275 objections.

Conservative councillor Robert Windass, whose Claro & Boroughbridge division includes Staveley, said he was satisfied that the ground was safe.

He said because the site was allocated for development in the local plan, there was little that could be done to stop the scheme from happening. Cllr Windass eventually abstained during the vote to approve the scheme.

He said: 

“I am fully aware of feelings within the village of Staveley about this development.

"They should have done the largest amount of objecting before this site was allocated [in the Local Plan]. Once it was, we know the outcome that houses would be built there.”

North Yorkshire Council has closed a string of rural primary schools in recent years and Lib Dem councillor Chris Aldred said the homes could help sustain Staveley Community Primary School.

He also unsuccessfully called for investigations to take place underneath the ground to give comfort that the land was safe for development.

Councillors eventually voted by three votes to one, with one abstention, that they were ‘minded’ to approve the application.

A final decision will be made at a later date by the council’s assistant director of planning and the chair and vice chair of the planning committee, subject to conditions and the section 106 agreement.

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