THE Planning Application to build 28 homes on Wychcroft, Magdalen Lane, Hedon has been refused by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
Peter Read, Director of Birstall May Ltd., had resubmitted his planning application for residential development of Wychcroft building 24 three and four bedroom homes for sale and 4 three bedroom homes classed as ‘affordable’. The development would come with associated access roads, landscaping including provision of wildlife ponds and drainage lagoons and a children’s play area. But at yesterday’s meeting of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Eastern Area Planning Sub-Committee, councillors unanimously rejected the application.
It was considered that the proposed development would have an adverse impact on the character of Hedon and result in the loss of an important open area in the town. On the risk of flooding, council officers had acknowledged that the scheme could have been made safe and would not increase the flooding risk elsewhere, but felt that the risks of flooding still outweighed any benefits that the scheme could deliver. Matters relating to flood risk and drainage in the town and on the site need to be satisfactorily resolved first.
Cllr. John Dennis attended the meeting and had reserved a slot to speak as a local Ward Councillor to reflect the existing opposition to the scheme.
“The Planning Officers have known of Hedon Town Council’s stance all along, that, until all flood risk can be shown to have been removed, the emerging ‘Local Plan’ for Hedon should continue to impose the policy that no development sites of any significant size should be approved within the boundary of the town. Seventeen sites were actually put forward by owners and developers for inclusion in the Local Plan, but, thankfully, the East Riding supported Hedon’s position and recommended rejection of them all.
“The issue of the proximity of the site to the Conservation Area, how it serves to frame many of our ancient buildings from the east, and the way that its development would adversely impact upon the approach to Hedon’s central area were all discussed. I also emphasised that the site is vital to Hedon’s unique character, and in my opinion, it should remain as it is.
“This particular field is probably the most important of a dwindling group of such fields, regarded as ‘important green spaces’ within the town’s boundaries which should all be protected.
“It is interesting to note that Hedon in acreage terms is probably the smallest Town or Parish in the whole of East Riding, and as such has very little room to grow outwards.
“So, for all of the above reasons I asked for refusal, and further suggested that the planners should stick to their guns until such time as the Environment Agency has completed all plans and are able to provide a guarantee to us that there will be no floods in the future.
“I was delighted to see the committee vote to reject the application, unanimously.”
It is interesting to note from reading the planning officer’s report presented to council, that the planning application was not recommended to be refused on the grounds of increased flood risk, a major tenet of Hedon Town Council’s opposition to the development. Rather it acknowledged that “the application appears to demonstrate that the development can be made safe and will not increase flood risk elsewhere”. This seems to indicate an improved situation where developers are actively considering and addressing flood risk in a wider context in their plans than perhaps they previously were. In the current climate, with the news full of flooding horror stories, then this surely must be welcome.
With significant progress being made on schemes that address the flooding risk, then we ask; how long will it be before the needs for new housing and affordable housing in Hedon begin to take a higher political priority? With town council talk of lobbying for new road by-passes, and new thinking on vehicle parking, then perhaps the time is ripe to begin to discuss Hedon’s evolution into the later parts of the 21st century.
For the younger generation in the town ‘Vision 2030’ for Hedon is certainly not fanciful, but something to be actively thinking about!