55-home Middleham housing estate gets go-ahead

An artist's drawing submitted with the application.

A proposal to build a 55-home estate in Middleham has been approved as the scheme will feature a large proportion of affordable housing.

Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee heard the site on 2.9 hectares of grazing land on the north-western edge of Middleham would include 40 per cent affordable housing, which officers said was a figure “pretty much unheard of in Lower Wensleydale”.

Following mounting concerns over the amount of affordable housing available and maintaining pupil numbers at small rural schools in Richmondshire, councillors said they agreed with Middleham Town Council that the proposal would on balance generate a boost for the community.

Councillor Ian Threlfall said: “I think the affordable housing 40 per cent in Middleham where there are a lot of young single people working is very significant and welcome.”

Officers told the meeting Historic England had expressed concerns over the plan on heritage grounds and considered it “essential” that the housing scheme should maximise opportunities to “tie it into the existing cultural landscape”.

They said a small part of the application site was within the town’s Conservation Area, which features the scheduled monument of Middleham Castle and numerous 16th century buildings. Officers said consideration had to be given to the impact of the proposed development on the setting of the historic assets.

A large part of Middleham is designated as a Conservation Area and in 2007 the approach from Leyburn, beside the development site, was identified as important with an avenue of limes leading towards the heart of the town. In recognition of this importance, it was included in the Conservation Area to provide a transition between the rural landscape and the historic town centre.

However, the council’s conservation officers concluded “an appropriate
development in terms of layout, the form and mass of buildings, and a suitable
landscape scheme, could mitigate any ‘less than substantial harm’ caused”.

Planning agent for the developers Gary Hoerty told the meeting he believed the scheme would “take the town into the future in a very positive way”.

He added: “The proposed development would provide many benefits. They include up to 55 houses, much-needed affordable housing, benefits to the services in the town, including the school which is under-subscribed, improvements to existing play areas and provision of informal open space.”

The meeting was told the estate would play a “seamless part in the historical evolution of Middleham”.


  1. Cut the crap. The estate will ruin a beautiful spot. It will make no difference to pupil numbers at the school. It will make no difference to Middleham life other than that it will create extra dirt, noise and pollution. It will set a precedent for further building and it will destroy the peace and quiet of this lovely Yorkshire town. This is a spiritual place, but as usual it is the materialists who get their way – another inch forward in mankind’s slow desruction of the planet. Let’s forget the hypocrisy it’s just about money. No need to build in Wensleydale at all. You all need to be very ashamed.

  2. I wrote a reply to this this morning but I see the powers-that-be have been too cowardly to print it. Residents of Middleham who know and love the place – its quietness, its loveliness and its spirituality – need to be wide awake as to what they are facing. The more I contemplate this matter, the more sinister it becomes. It’s my opinion that this is the worst threat to Middleham since Hitler. I believe this Mr Hoerty is out to turn it into a big town, destroying its present character for ever. He would make a lot of money out of that. I cannot put into print the designation I would like to give him. ‘Regenerate the town’, ‘swell the numbers at Middleham school’ – bullshit put forward by this man at the initial meeting I went to in 1997, which I see has gulled the Planning Committee, which I imagine to be a body of sheeplike people bleating their consent in the way that they are expected to do. If these people are intending to turn Middleham into a big town, then they need to seek the permission of all of the people who presently live in it, asking them if that is the way they want it to be – not just a selection, as happens with so-called ‘statutory consultation’, but everybody. I daresay this comment will not be put forward for the public to read, as it is not what those reading it will want to read, and therefore it will be scrubbed. But there are the newspaper editors, and they will read it seriously and give it due consideration.

  3. I see my first comment is still there and therefore I apologise for the first sentence in my second comment.

  4. What about the lack of amenities ie. doctors surgery over subscribed. 55 houses say two cars per household a single track bridge over the river which has no footpath and no traffic lights and which is just waiting for a big accident to occur. Where are the jobs in Middleham and how many more cars will be travelling east to Northallerton and yet further to find work. Or are the 60% of houses going to taken by retirees. I wonder!

  5. I think that this development will be an unmitigated disaster for Middleham and I cannot believe that it has been waved through in this manner. It will ruin the visual impact of the town (up until now a jewel in the Wensleydale landscape), it will set a precedent for further development, it will bring a significant increase in traffic to Middleham, Middleham Bridge and the already treacherous A6108. I cannot believe that local people have been seemingly so passive on this one. They will surely rue this in future….

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