A LOCAL authority seeking to set in stone its ambition to expand one of the region’s leading industrial estates has sought to reassure residents their concerns have not been omitted from a blueprint submitted to government.

Hambleton District Council, which announced earlier this summer it was in talks with the owners of 30 hectares of land to add to the Leeming Bar estate, said the Local Plan it had lodged with the Planning Inspectorate to consider ahead of public hearings next month, accurately summarised more than 300 comments it had received from residents over the controversial scheme.

The authority was responding to claims by Leeming Bar Action Group that the council had failed to mention the “widespread, persistent and material objections” to its industrial estate proposal in its summary of main concerns about the Local Plan for the inspectors.

The group says the council’s list of issues fails to mention the huge local opposition to a third industrial estate “which will completely enclose the village of Leeming Bar, threaten the welfare of its residents and fundamentally change the character of the village”.

Group spokesperson Dr Matthew Sawyer said: “We’re sure Hambleton District Council would not deliberately withhold information they considered pertinent and important from HM Inspectors. Therefore they must not consider residents’ concerns about their welfare and their village to be either pertinent or important.

“It is very important the inspectors should know the strength of feeling of local people and their many material concerns over this planned industrial estate at Leeming Bar.”

He said it was “both outrageous and puzzling” that the council had not informed the inspectors that the biggest single issue which attracted attention on the Local Plan was over the proposals for the land at Aiskew Moor, north of Wensleydale Railway.

Dr Sawyer added: “It is ironic that council executives are currently canvassing local businesses to win their support for maintaining the district council in the face of calls for devolution. Indeed it would seem big business is the only constituent Hambleton is remotely interested in representing, given that it has so clearly ignored its residents.”

The action group is urging residents to exercise their right to raise matters or questions in writing for the inspectors’ attention, and to attend the hearings in Northallerton themselves.

A spokeswoman for the council said the inspectors had full access to the original comments as submitted by residents. She said the submitted Local Plan documents included summarised concerns such as increased congestion on roads and pollution, loss of greenfield and agricultural land, impact on wildlife and biodiversity, impact on existing residents and amenity, light, noise and air pollution, loss of village character and creeping urbanisation of Northallerton and Bedale.

She said: “Following normal planning practices we would summarise comments on health and well-being issues as ‘impact on existing residents and amenity’.”