“WE’VE used the time since our last application to address the issues raised by objectors,” said Mr Peter Read the Managing Director of Birstall May Limited at Hedon Town Council planning committee last Thursday (12th March 2015). He was referring to the re-submission of the planning application to build 28 new dwellings on land North of Magdalen Lane known locally as Wychcroft. Birstall May withdrew their previous application to build houses at the open field site after objections from neighbouring residents and principally from English Heritage and the Environment Agency.
“The re-submitted application,” said Mr Read “meets the enhanced requirement to protect the heritage of the site, while the proposed measures to control and alleviate flooding will bring significant benefits to the rest of Hedon particularly those residents living nearby.” Mr Read outlined the proposals detailed in the planning application to protect and manage access to the Scheduled Monument comprising part of Hedon’s medieval defences which borders the development:
“Most people don’t realise that there’s an ancient monument at the site which is currently an open field, on private land with no public access. We would make it accessible to the public with access from Magdalen Lane and ensure it’s protected for the future.”
To those who were objecting to the housing plan based on the loss of greenfield space, Mr Read referred to his memory of previous housing development in the town:
“When I first came to Hedon over 50 years ago the population was only about 1,300. Since then most of the housing development that has taken place has been on former greenfield sites, including the homes of many councillors sat around the table tonight.”
“Most of those objecting to the development probably live in properties that were built on former greenfield sites!
“The development would involves creating a new wildlife amenity area that could be incorporated as a public park space, rather than a closed-off field as it is at the moment.
“It would also realise properties – 3 and 4 bedroom homes with ample parking – that would be suitable for first-time buyers .”
Mrs Margaret Murray speaking on behalf of local residents on Magdalen Lane opposed to the scheme drew attention to the perceived flood risk which she said still remained inherent in the new application and warned councillors of the spectre of a 2007-type big flood:
“This is very similar to the application submitted in November 2013 with very few amendments. The documents state categorically that in 2007 this field did not flood, but it did! It was substantially under water.
“The site if developed will increase flood risk to the town. Rainfall will hit hard surfaces; roofs, roads, paths, instead of being gradually absorbed into the field, water will build up quickly and overflow towards Westlands which will already be full of the same rain.
“In 2007 it took 3-days for the water levels to start dropping. In the event of a flood on the scale of 2007 the developer’s proposed drainage swales would be completely inadequate due to the sheer amount of water and flood local residents once more.
“The risk of flooding in Hedon is completely beyond his (the developer’s) control and this development, replacing floodplains with hard surfaces, will increase the flood risk not alleviate it.”
With speakers for and against having been heard councillors then proceeded to discuss the application in which several praised the planning application for its contents and its attempt to allay local fears and concerns. But on a recorded vote it was decided without a single vote in favour, to recommend that the planning application be refused. In listing their objections to the planning application, the council referred to its previous 7-point opposition to the scheme in November 2013 which would form the basis of their current opposition.
Motion – Hedon Town Council DOES NOT support this application due to:-
- The scheme would result in the loss of one of the Important Open Green Spaces within central Hedon which contribute to the character of the town.
- Building upon this site would have an adverse impact on local heritage assets.
- There is a history of flooding of the site itself and neighbouring residential properties to the north were seriously affected during the 2007 flood event.
- Construction of houses on this site will increase already severe flood risk in an area where existing infrastructure cannot accept further surface water run-off from residential properties.
- Proximity of sites containing Greater Crested Newts and other protected wildlife.
- Parking within Hedon has reached a critical level and the development of this field will involve the loss of valuable parking spaces along the northern side of Magdalen Lane
- Narrow roadway and blind bend to the east of the site entrance make entry to and exit from the development potentially dangerous.
Supported by Cllr Colin Billany Cllr Neil Black Cllr Allen Marshall Cllr Sarah Rommell Cllr David Thompson Cllr Gordon Thurston Abstentions: Cllrs Mike Bryan and John Dennis. As East Riding Councillors they reserved their right to speak/vote at that council on the matter. Not voting: Cllr Terry West was not present at the discussion on this item having already expressed his views by letter to Hedon Town Council. He played no part in the discussion or voting on this item and returned to the council chamber after the agenda item was concluded.
The planning application documents are available to view on the East Riding Council’s planning portal website site. Visit: Planning Public Access, click through to the website and enter 14/03927/PLF in the search box and click on Associated Documents.