Baroness Hale raises objections to Richmond housing plans

The location of the proposed development.

Baroness Hale of Richmond has spoken out against a proposed housing development in Richmond.

Britain’s first female Law Lord, who is from Richmond, has written a letter objecting to the plans for fields off Westfields.

Zetland Estates has submitted a planning application to build 30 three, four and five-bedroom homes on the land, with six being affordable and three for the self-build market.

More than 2,000 people have now signed a petition against the development.

Brenda Hale, who recently retired as president of the Supreme Court, is patron of the Richmondshire Landscape Trust, a charity which owns and manages land around the town including the Westfield pastures.

In her letter of objection, she said: “There will be a strong sense of injustice that local people raised the money to buy the Westfield and the other land owned by the Richmondshire Landscape Trust in order to preserve its amenity for the town in perpetuity.

“This proposed development would have a seriously adverse impact upon that amenity.”

Lady Hale claims there is no housing need in the area for a development of this kind, which incorporates 3-storey houses described by the applicant as a ‘development of distinction’.

“Richmond already has an ample supply of land on which housing can be built.

“This proposed development of mainly large houses, with a very small proportion of affordable units, will not cater to the principal demand, which is for smaller units and for more affordable housing.”

The trust has also objected to the planning application, along with the town council and Richmond and District Civic Society.

The site’s historic 70-box Hurgill yard, menage and training ground was previously home to Classics and Arlington Million winners and trainers Bill Watt and Ann Duffield.

The applicants have urged the public to get behind the scheme.

They say the scheme has the ability to transform the lives of many people, contributing positively to the local community and providing a transition to energy efficient building practices on a larger scale.

The application states: “We do hope the community can get behind this, rather than fight it, after all, we are continuing a pattern of development that our collective ancestors started at the bottom or Hurgill and Westfields 100 years ago.

“None of us would have the privilege living in these areas had they not.”

Although the scheme has attracted some support from residents and traders who say it would bring much-needed affordable and self-build housing in the area, the majority of responses to the council’s consultation on the scheme are opposed to the development.



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