Referendum villagers await housing scheme decision

First published in News
Last updated

RESIDENTS who held a pioneering referendum in an attempt to ban large-scale developments across their parish are facing a further wait to learn if their action was successful.

Ampleforth villagers said they were delighted after Ryedale District Council planning committee members voted to reject a plan to build 30 homes in a field off Station Road in the village overlooking the North York Moors.

But the authority’s planning officers immediately announced a “cooling off period” for councillors to consider the reasons for refusing David Wilson Homes’ scheme, which includes affordable housing, and deferred the decision until next month.

In September, 228 residents voted in a parish referendum through which villagers hoped to influence planning policy in the village, with 87 per cent saying they wished to limit developments to a maximum of four dwellings on green-field sites.

Planning councillors told the meeting they were opposed to building in the designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and that the development could lead to traffic issues on the narrow lanes leading to the village.

Ampleforth councillor Jim Bailey said: “I’m grateful of the support the committee gave to protecting Ampleforth.

“Such a large scale scheme clearly flies in the face of localism. The referendum demonstrated the residents want to help shape the way their village is developed.”

Campaigner Jo Evans said she believed the referendum had been worthwhile as many of the councillors referred to the result and said “they couldn’t look the public in the eye if they rejected that as not a material consideration”.

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